September 2, 2014
By Ashton Marra
Dominion Resources officially announced a new partnership that will pump billions of cubic feet of natural gas a day out of West Virginia. That is if a federal regulatory commission approves the project.
The nearly $5 billion project has Dominion Resources teaming up with North Carolina’s Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas as well as Atlanta-based AGL Resources to lay 550 miles of pipeline.
Starting in southern Harrison County, the proposed tract would cross through Lewis, Upshur, Randolph, and Pocahontas counties on its way to Virginia, eventually pumping more than 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas each day to Virginia and North Carolina, places where the demand for fuel is growing.
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline, as the project is called, is estimated to create more than 17,000 jobs according to Dominion. About 3,100 of those will be in West Virginia.
Most of them will be temporary construction jobs, but an increase in a demand means an increase in supply which could lead to more jobs on drilling sites.
Leslee McCarty with the Greenbrier Watershed Association says she’s not sure the economic good outweighs the possible environmental bad.
Her organization teamed up with the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy to detail the negative impacts in a fact sheet. It includes things like clear cutting trees through the Monongahela and George Washington National Forests, impacts to the water quality of at least half a dozen rivers and streams and decreases in the property values of nearby homes.
The announcement means the company will begin the application process through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by studying the environmental, historical, cultural and other impacts. That application process takes 18 months to two years, according to Bob Orndorff, Dominion’s managing director for state and local affairs. Then, they’ll have to get permission from the state and municipalities as well as landowners.
Barring any regulatory delays, construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2016 and be completed in 2018.