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Cancellation of Atlantic Coast Pipeline surprises West Virginia officials

By Steven Allen Adams

Parkersburg News and Sentinel

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The companies behind the $8 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline project announced the cancellation of the project Sunday, taking state leaders by surprises.

According to a statement from Dominion Energy and Duke Energy Sunday afternoon, the pipeline project to bring natural gas from West Virginia through Virginia to North Carolina was canceled due to additional regulatory hurdles and uncertain market conditions.

“A series of legal challenges to the project’s federal and state permits has caused significant project cost increases and timing delays,” the joint statement read. “These lawsuits and decisions have sought to dramatically rewrite decades of permitting and legal precedent including as implemented by presidential administrations of both political parties.”

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court — in a 7-2 decision — reversed a decision by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals that said the U.S. Forest Service did not have the authority to issue a right-of-way easement for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project to cross underneath a portion of the Appalachian Trail in Virginia.

The pipeline would bring natural gas from Harrison County and four other West Virginia counties 600 miles through Virginia to North Carolina. The project, started in 2014, has a price tag of $8 billion — an increase from the original price tag of $5 billion. In Dominion and Duke’s joint statement, they cite additional federal court cases — including a case on Montana that overturned federal permit authorities for waterbody and wetlands crossings — which also could cause substantial delays. …

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