Late Info is Suspicious, Requires Reset of $5 Billion Atlantic Coast Gas Pipeline Review, say NC and Virginia Critics
Legal motion by 20 nonprofits says federal regulators must restart environmental review process after massive late filing by Dominion-Duke
Statement by NC WARN Executive Director Jim Warren:
Durham, NC – Federal law requires energy regulators to revise and restart their environmental review process for a proposed $5 billion fracked gas pipeline because developers Dominion Resources and Duke Energy withheld a huge amount of data until after the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was issued recently.
Intervenor NC WARN and 20 allied nonprofits yesterday told the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that the agency must carefully review the new data and prepare a new EIS before rescheduling public hearings that had been set to begin in mid-February in North Carolina and Virginia.
After reviewing the application for the proposed 600-mile pipeline for well over a year, FERC publicized its draft EIS on December 30 and later scheduled ten public comment sessions along the proposed ACP route. Then, on January 10, partners Dominion and Duke filed voluminous additional information – including impacts to streams, wetlands, soils, and wildlife, among other categories – which by law must be included in the EIS.
In the new motion, NC WARN attorney John Runkle told FERC that the late filing “appears to have been held and not filed until the agency had issued the [draft] EIS,” even though it had “clearly been prepared earlier … and withheld from public and agency review.”
Federal law requires FERC to take “a hard look” and fully review the new information, then incorporate it into the EIS. In this case, the regulators obviously should side with critics in scrutinizing the new information and questioning why Dominion-Duke withheld it.
What are they trying to hide from open scrutiny and legal requirements?
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is central to plans by Duke Energy and other utilities to greatly expand the burning of shale gas from fracking operations, an expansion deemed by leading scientists to be disastrous for climate protection due to super-potent methane leaking throughout US gas operations. Also, industry analysts say the supply of shale gas has been grossly overstated for years, and that near- and mid-term supplies and pricing are in great question.
Many of the groups listed in today’s motion are members of a recently formed alliance, NC APPPL: Stop the Pipeline.
See more on the North Carolina opposition to the ACP.