Atlantic Coast Pipeline construction could begin in West Virginia in the fall

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Following a favorable Final Environmental Impact Statement for the 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Dominion’s Managing Director in West Virginia remains hopeful that pipeline construction could begin this Fall.

“It’s a culmination of 150 pages of report, 75,000 public comments, 300 route adjustments that we’ve been making over the last three years,” Orndorff said Monday on “Talkline” with Hoppy Kercheval.

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline will run through five West Virginia counties beginning at the Harrison/Lewis line. Those in opposition — and still critical following the release of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s FEIS — suggested that the pipeline was being created without a reasonable need for the markets where the natural gas would enter.

“The FEIS addresses the issue of whether there is a market or not, and there is definitely a market for this gas that will fuel the economy in both North Carolina and Virginia,” Orndorff said.

The release of the FERC environmental statement also drew praise from organized labor. The construction is expected to create more than 17,000 jobs in West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina. Around 2,200 jobs would be considered permanent.

“They are all in,” Orndorff said. “They are out there trying to train their employees or looking for housing. Our contractors, we have four contractors, are going to be building this.”

Orndorff is hopeful, though would not say definitively, that Dominion will obtain a Certificate of Need to begin construction of the pipeline within 90 days.

“I think a lot of the issues we may have had in the past with landowners will be resolved through the contractual process,” he said. “It’s a give and take, and we work out. We pride ourselves on how we negotiate fairly with our landowners.”

Additionally, Orndorff would not rule out the use of eminent domain.

“Unfortunately, maybe in a couple of situations, once we get the ability to use eminent domain, we may have to use that as a way to be able to get our right of way agreements signed by the landowners,” Orndorff said. “But that’s a last resort.”

Orndorff said the second, smaller line — the Supply Header project — will gather gas to bring into the ACP. That also received a favorable FERC review.

“A 37 mile, 30 inch project both in West Virginia and Pennsylvania,” he said. “In West Virginia it goes from Lewis County into Doddridge County, a little part of Tyler County and Wetzel County, with some compression changes in Marshall County.”

If pipeline construction begins this year, the expected completion date is projected in 2019.

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