On July 5, 2020, Duke and Dominion announced that they were canceling the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. See timeline below for more detail. Thanks to all the organizations and frontline, impacted communities that worked so hard for so long to achieve this victory!
Since 2014, Duke Energy and Dominion Energy have been trying to build the 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline to bring natural gas from fracking fields in West Virginia and Pennsylvania to power plants in North Carolina.
The project was part of a major shift to make gas “the backbone” of Duke Energy’s future, according to Duke CEO Lynn Good.
Construction of the pipeline was delayed by court challenges, yet Duke kept spending $20 million a week on the pipeline in anticipation of the project’s resumption. Total costs to NC customers could have risen to $20 billion.
Duke and Dominion claimed the pipeline would bring new industry to the counties along the route, but analysis showed that claim was false.
- 2019 Grist documentary on ACP fight
- Robeson Rises film
- Overview flyer
- May 2020 report: It's Time to Abandon the ACP
- Overview flyer with footnotes
- Climate effects flyer
- Supply problems flyer
- Supply problems flyer with footnotes
- Letter calling on Gov. Cooper to cancel ACP
- Title VI complaint
- Title VI supplement
- FERC comments incl. toxic pipe coatings (July 2020)
- Other legal filings
- Briefing by Oil Change International
- The Case Against the ACP (SELC web page)
- OCI factsheet
- Allegheny Blueridge Alliance factsheet
- Map of pending pipeline projects
The ACP was required to receive permits from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the state’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The permits were issued but the project was beset with legal challenges and was finally canceled on July 5, 2020. Here’s a partial timeline with links to more information:
- In March 2016, NC WARN sent FERC a letter pointing out that even the agency’s own outgoing Administrator, Norman Bay, recommended re-evaluation of natural gas pipeline projects that take into account not only immediate need but also long-term need, “upstream” environmental effects in the fracking fields and “downstream” effects on greenhouse gas emissions.
- In April 2016, NC WARN petitioned FERC to accept us as a party in the legal case over the ACP.
- In September 2016, the DEQ delayed two permits (water quality and erosion and sediment control), asking the developers for more documentation.
- On December 30, 2016, FERC released its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).
- On April 7, 2017, NC WARN filed comments on FERC’s DEIS on behalf of 20 nonprofit organizations. On October 9, 2017, we filed a motion on behalf of the same groups calling on FERC to supplement the DEIS based on a DC District Court of Appeals ruling on a Florida pipeline that a DEIS must examine greenhouse gases, and on an Associated Press story that the pipeline developers plan to extend the ACP into South Carolina.
- On November 13, 2017, a broad alliance of public interest groups called for the ACP’s federal approval to be suspended until the courts considered the case and three North Carolina state agencies ruled on broad areas of information that were either missing or which disqualified the project outright. The challenge, led by NC WARN attorney John Runkle, charged that FERC made a mockery of legal requirements by allowing the $6 billion pipeline’s developers, Duke Energy and Dominion Resources, to supplement their application 18 times – with thousands of pages of technical documents on critical issues – even after the public comment period ended, and despite repeated protests by NC WARN and others.
- In November 2017, the News & Observer editorial board came out against the ACP and published a half-page of passionate letters in opposition to the pipeline.
- In January 2018, Governor Cooper approved the ACP, a decision that was a loser for the people of eastern North Carolina, their economy and the urgent fight to slow climate change.
- On February 23, 2018, on behalf of 19 public interest groups, NC WARN attorney John Runkle filed to join Southern Environmental Law Center’s (SELC) appeal in federal court. We focused particularly on the ACP’s environmental injustices including impacts on families and communities along the route, environmental and health impacts from the construction and operation of the pipeline and its cumulative impacts, including the worsening climate crisis.
- In May 2018, NC WARN attorneys and a dozen other environmental justice groups filed a Title VI complaint with the EPA alleging that NC regulators discriminated on the basis of race and income level in issuing permits and certifications to the ACP as part of the permitting process. Read the press summary, the full complaint and the June 7 supplement.
- On August 6, 2018, a federal appeals court threw out some of the construction permits that had been issued for the ACP and warned developers to stop construction. The case was brought by the Southern Environmental Law Center.
- On June 17, 2019, the Energy Justice NC coalition wrote a letter to Governor Roy Cooper asking him to cancel the ACP due to skyrocketing costs, climate impacts and the false claim that the project would bring economic development to the counties along its route.
- In August 2019, Friends of the Earth and the NC Climate Solutions Coalition petitioned DEQ to revoke the 401 water quality permit. NC WARN wrote a letter in support of the petition.
- On September 27, 2019, NC WARN and our allies disrupted the press conference for Gov. Roy Cooper’s Clean Energy Plan due to it failing to address the climate crisis we are facing, specifically overlooking the impact of fracked gas and forest destruction for wood pellets.
- On October 20, 2019, Duke University climate scientist Drew Shindell and 27 former EPA employees wrote to Gov. Roy Cooper urging him to stop Duke Energy’s climate-wrecking gas pipelines and power plants.
- On January 7, 2020, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the permit issued by Virginia for an ACP compressor station in Union Hill, VA — a great victory for environmental justice.
- On February 24, 2020, oral arguments were heard at the US Supreme Court in the appeal of the August 2018 ruling in the 4th Circuit that pulled the permit allowing the pipeline to cross the Appalachian Trail.
- In May 2020, former utility executive Thomas Hadwin published It’s Time to Abandon the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a report for Friends of the Earth and NC WARN showing that the ACP is an economic risk not only to ratepayers but to investors as well.
- In May 2020, in the wake of new Virginia legislation, a group of more than 75 organizations ran a full-page ad in several papers urging Dominion shareholders to pressure the company to abandon the ACP.
- On June 15, 2020, the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of the ACP by overturning the 4th circuit’s decision that the U.S. Forest Service did not have the authority to allow the pipeline to cross under the Appalachian Trail.
- On July 5, 2020, Duke and Dominion announced that they were canceling the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project.
Pipeline installation delays leave pipes stored longer than recommended aboveground, where UV light can deteriorate the coatings that prevent corrosion. SEE ALL Atlantic Coast Pipeline POSTS
A globally prominent expert on methane’s impacts on the climate is urging Governor Roy Cooper and Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good to lead a cooperative effort for North Carolina to help slow the global climate emergency. In a letter signed by 40 former EPA officials from this state, Dr. Drew Shindell said lessons from the ongoing pandemic and the cancelled Atlantic Coast fracked gas Pipeline (ACP) provide a critically important opportunity to spring forward to a more equitable and economically timely “new normal” while a return to business as usual could be disastrous.
See the Op-Ed Running in the N&O, Charlotte Observer, Durham Herald-Sun, NC Policy Watch, and the Fayetteville Observer