State officials seek more information on Atlantic Coast Pipeline for the fourth time

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Atlantic Coast Pipeline
Project overview map of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (Atlantic Coast Pipeline)

For the fourth time, the administration of North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has asked developers of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline for more information, potentially pushing its final decision on the project into 2018, reported South Eastern Energy News on Nov. 29.

These requests follow the Cooper administration’s obligations under section 401 of the Clean Water Act to ensure the pipeline would not damage rivers, streams and wetlands. Federal authorities have already given the $5-billion project their conditional approval.

In the previous inquiries, state officials centered on the waterways the pipeline will cross during construction. Their latest letter focuses on a different point, particularly on the businesses expected to rise in the region due to the availability of natural gas.

According to the Cooper administration, the pipeline application does not detail exactly who these business entities are, where they will construct their facilities, and what their effect on waterways would be.

Although the developers have provided officials with a map of three of the eight counties the pipeline will cover, the letter from the administration said, “a detailed analysis of each area’s potential for economic growth was not completed, nor was there a detailed discussion of the regulatory framework that may be in place or needed to protect water quality.”

In the letter, Cooper officials also addressed another worry of the project’s critics, that the pipeline would increase its environmental impact by extending to South Carolina. This issue was brought on by a statement from a Dominion executive during an energy conference that the pipeline will not end in Lumberton.

“Atlantic Coast Pipeline states that there is no commitment to potential customers or reasonably foreseeable plans to extend beyond the current terminus. Include an explanation of the proposed terminus of the project,” state officials stated.

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