DEQ asks more on ACP


By T.C. Hunter - Managing editor



RALEIGH — Robeson County factors into a fourth letter requesting information from the builders of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a request called “part of the process” by a spokesman for one of the project’s partners.

The letter was issued Tuesday by the North Carolina Division of Water Resources and relates to a state water quality certification sought by Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC, according to Bridget Munger, Public Information officer for the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality.

According to the letter, the ACP’s Indirect and Cumulative Effects Screening lacked an analysis of the project’s potential to stimulate economic development and its potential effect to water quality. The pipeline’s builders also are asked to provide details regarding where the pipeline will end.

The proposed 600-mile-long natural gas pipeline would start in West Virginia and end near Pembroke. The project is being undertaken by Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas and Southern Company Gas.

The builders remain confident.

“The DEQ request is part of the process and shouldn’t impact the timetable. We’re working on the response now and should have that to the agency in short order,” said Aaron Ruby, Dominion Energy’s Media Relations manager.

But there remains opposition, including a group calling itself the The Alliance to Protect Our People and Places We Live.

A written statement from the group reads in part, “The location and status of the proposed endpoint of the pipeline in Robeson County has been highly controversial. It is located in the heart of the Native American community at gateways to Prospect and Pembroke, two of the oldest Indian communities in the U.S. Unlike proposed pipeline development in neighboring Cumberland County, the Robeson County location is in the middle of a well-populated area that already hosts two other pipelines and a compressor station. Further development will make it one of the most high-risk areas to live along the entire 600-mile route of the proposed pipeline.”

The statement also references a Dominion Energy official in Virginia saying the pipeline was planned to go into South Carolina and that additional facilities would be needed in North Carolina to support this development.

Dominion Energy has denied that is a plan.

According to its website, the Alliance “is a grassroots organization formed in 2016 to protect North Carolina and her people. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline stands to threaten our livelihood, our water, our climate, our health and safety, our forests and our future.”

Pipeline proponents in Robeson County, including the Board of Commissioners, say the pipeline will help recruit industry to the area that want access to natural gas, and that will mean jobs. The owners of the pipeline would also pay properties taxes on the infrastructure.

The DEQ requests come as an anti-pipeline rally is planned for Saturday in Richmond, Va. The Water is Life Rally, to take place on the state Capitol grounds, is billed as a chance for people to come together and take a stand against the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines and to protect Virginia’s waters.

In other ACP developments:

— On Monday, the Division of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources received the additional information that had been requested for both of the required general stormwater permit applications. Review of the stormwater permit applications is expected to begin next week.

— The public comment period for the air quality permit for the Northampton County Compressor Station closed Nov. 20. By law, the Division of Air Quality has 30 days from the date of the public hearing to make a permitting decision, which is a deadline of Dec. 15.

— Following the Nov. 6 disapproval of the project’s sediment and erosion control plans, Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC submitted additional information on the plans to the Division of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources. Review of the updated plans is nearly complete.

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By T.C. Hunter

Managing editor

Reach T.C. Hunter by calling 910-816-1974 or via email at tchunter@robesonian.com.

Reach T.C. Hunter by calling 910-816-1974 or via email at tchunter@robesonian.com.

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