Despite demands by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) to modify crossing plans before approving the 600-mile natural gas pipeline, executives from Dominion Energy and their project partner, Duke Energy, say their venture is still right on track.
The pipeline, which will run through the Atlantic Coast, is expected to start construction this year and to be completed by the second half of 2019.
On a phone interview Oct. 30 with the Triangle Business Journal, Dominion CEO Tom Farrell II claimed that they have already completed the “design, engineering, executed the construction contracts and completed 90 percent of materials procurement.”
Utilities have not been granted water permits just yet but Farrell said they are expecting the necessary documentation by the middle of December.
Farrell pointed out that Dominion and Duke are undergoing a “very typical process.” He explained, “We provide answers, that makes them ask more questions, and we provide more answers. But we’re coming to the end of that process…”
The Dominion executive’s statements come four days after it was confirmed that the NCDEQ sent the companies a third letter requesting more information regarding the project.
NCDEQ’s letter, which was delivered Oct. 26, demanded builders follow a horizontal directional drilling design for crossing the Neuse River. Another request in the letter was for clarification regarding discrepancies in Dominion and Duke’s previous response. NCDEQ called for a complete analysis of the construction impact on Robeson, Cumberland and Johnston counties.
Officials of Dominion and Duke have 30 days to respond. From there, the state has up to 60 days to review paperwork and it is possible that permission to begin construction may not be issued until 2018. This would delay the timeline Farrell has laid out.