Dominion Energy Inc. reiterated that it expects the controversial Atlantic Coast gas pipeline project to come online in early 2022 despite the possibility of an unfavorable federal court decision on a key U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service permit, Reuters reported Dec. 16.
"We remain committed to completing the project for the good of our economy and the environment," Dominion spokesman Aaron Ruby said in response to a recent Morgan Stanley report forecasting that the U.S. Appeals Court for the 4th Circuit would reject "for the third time ... a newly issued Biological Opinion and Incidental Take Statement that we expect to come by the first quarter of 2020."
The December 2018 ruling forced project developers Dominion, Duke Energy Corp. and Southern Co. Gas to suspend construction on the 1.5-Bcf/d pipeline, which is estimated to cost in the $7.3 billion to $7.8 billion range.
The U.S. Supreme Court, meanwhile, is expected to decide in June 2020 whether to uphold a lower court decision that blocked U.S. Forest Service authorizations that would have allowed the 600-mile pipeline to cross the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.