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Dominion asks FERC to let it finish 'critical' work on Atlantic Coast pipeline

A Dominion Energy Inc. unit asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for permission to finish work in "critical areas" along the 1.5-Bcf/d Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline project in West Virginia.

In an Aug. 13 letter to federal regulators, Dominion Energy Transmission Inc. requested approval to continue construction at three sites along the 600-mile pipeline route. Finishing work at the sites, which includes two road bores and modifications to a compressor station, would allow for "critical stabilization and the highest level of public safety," the developer said.

Dominion Energy Transmission made the request after FERC staff ordered a halt to all construction on the project, save for stabilization work, on Aug. 10. The commission issued the order days after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit vacated a right of way permit from the U.S. National Park Service, which allowed the project to run under the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. (U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit dockets 18-1082, 18-1083)

At the time the notice was issued, a road bore in Upshur County, W.Va., and another near Bridgeport, W.Va., were in progress. With one bore approximately 90% complete and the other forcing a road closure until completed, construction is necessary for stabilizing the crossing and preventing a potential collapse of the road, the company said.

The developer added that finishing work at the Mockingbird Hill compressor station in Wetzel County, W.Va., would be "the safest course of action" because construction "is essential to maintain continued operations at the [compressor station]." Completed work at the station would also allow for injections into Dominion Energy Transmission's storage pool.

The pipeline project is operated by a joint venture backed by Dominion Energy, Duke Energy Corp. and Southern Co. Gas. The $6 billion to $6.5 billion project would offer mid-Atlantic customers access to Appalachian gas supplies. (FERC docket CP15-554)