By T.C. Hunter
The governmental approval process for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline continues at a pace that points to construction beginning in early 2018. “We’ve received most of our state and federal approvals over the last few months. Only a few approvals remain, which we expect to receive by early next year,” said Aaron Ruby, Dominion Energy’s Media Relations manager…
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval ruling of Oct. 13 also is being challenged by NC WARN, a Durham-based nonprofit that addresses “the climate crisis and other hazards posed by electricity generation.”
NC WARN is one of 20 organizations that have filed with FERC for a rehearing of the approval decision, said John Runkle, an NC WARN attorney.
“Either the FERC agrees to a rehearing or we take them to court,” Runkle said.
The nonprofit opposes the ACP for several reasons, he said. Chief among them is the threat methane leaks pose to the climate.
The “environmental injustice” posed by the pipeline is another primary reason for NC WARN’s opposition, he said. The pipeline’s proposed path is through an inordinate amount of property inhabited by poor people who don’t have the means to fight seizure of property by the ACP partnership, according to NC WARN.
“Dominion and other big companies should not have the right and legal means to take private property for private profit,” Runkle said.
NC WARN also agrees with environmental-defense organizations that see the pipeline as a threat to natural areas and the quality of drinking water, he said.
Robeson County factored into opposition voiced by The Alliance to Protect Our People and Places We Live after the N.C. DEQ issued in late October a fourth letter asking for more information from the pipeline’s builders as part of the agency’s water quality certification process.
A written statement from the group reads in part, “The location and status of the proposed endpoint of the pipeline in Robeson County has been highly controversial. It is located in the heart of the Native American community at gateways to Prospect and Pembroke, two of the oldest Indian communities in the U.S. Unlike proposed pipeline development in neighboring Cumberland County, the Robeson County location is in the middle of a well-populated area that already hosts two other pipelines and a compressor station. Further development will make it one of the most high-risk areas to live along the entire 600-mile route of the proposed pipeline.”