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Environmentalists ask FERC to stop Atlantic Coast pipeline after loss of permit

An environmental group asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to order a stop to construction of the Dominion Energy Inc.-led, 1.5-Bcf/d Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline project after it lost a wildlife permit in a court case.

"Now that a federal court has revoked the incidental take statement for the [pipeline], FERC must order an immediate halt to all construction activities along the full length of the proposed route," Sierra Club attorney Nathan Matthews said in a May 17 statement.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit on May 15 ruled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service failed to appropriately limit the authority granted by an incidental take permit issued to developers of the pipeline and consequently vacated the permit. The permit authorizes the accidental killing or disruption of certain threatened and endangered species during construction. (U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit docket 18-1082)

Dominion has said the court ruling only pertains to portions of the 600-mile pipeline route and that it would adhere to the order. The developer does not anticipate a significant interruption to the construction schedule.

The $6 billion to $6.5 billion project is a joint venture of Dominion, Duke Energy Corp. and Southern Co.'s Southern Co. Gas. FERC authorized the pipeline in an October 2017 certificate order. (FERC docket CP15-554)