CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Dominion Energy’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline that runs through three states including West Virginia is once again delayed.
The update came in their fourth quarter and full year 2018 earnings update.
“Dominion Energy currently expects construction on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline could resume on the full route probably in the third quarter of this year,” Dominion Energy spokesperson Karl Neddenien told WV MetroNews.
He said that would mean the pipeline would be partially in-service in late 2020 and full in-service in early 2021. Dominion Energy said that based on new schedule, the company now expects the project cost to be between $7 billion and $7.5 billion, excluding financing costs.
According to Neddenien, the pushed back completion date is because of multiple factors including increasing costs and stoppages in construction.
“The most recent change of schedule is because in early December, Dominion Energy suspended, voluntarily, all construction work along the Atlantic Coast Pipeline,” he said. “This was after the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay on the approval that we had on the Fish and Wildlife Service. It was a concern about the possible impact on four species. As a result, we wanted to get a clarification on the full impact so we voluntarily suspended all the construction work.”
Neddenien said Dominion Energy appealed the case in December and hopes to hear it soon.
“We’re looking forward to having the case heard,” he said. “We expect it could be heard as early as May. We will offer some compelling arguments as to why the permit authorizations offered by the Fish and Wildlife Service really are valid.”
On Dec. 13, another opinion issued by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a U.S. Forest Service permit allowing pipeline construction through the Appalachian Trail. Bob Orndorff, the State Policies Director at Dominion Energy said in front of the West Virginia legislator in December, that rogue environmentalist groups have helped in causing delays.
The delay tactics caused by well-financed opposition groups are impacting more than just the construction schedules, Neddenien said.
“Their impact in the communities and the families in their region. It’s really time to stop these pointless delays and get back to work building the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
“Different industries and utilities and customers are in dire need of additional energy. It’s time to build it. These delays are not improving or increasing environmental protections. We already have in place some outstanding protections.”
The pipeline will cross more than 600 miles between the three states and will carry natural gas produced in West Virginia to energy users in Virginia and North Carolina.