Washington Watch: FERC Approves Atlantic Pipeline

Washington Watch: FERC Approves Atlantic Pipeline

In a quick whipsaw, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has cast a split vote to approve the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, for which a major state permit request had been rejected earlier that week. Opponents promised to contest the approval in court.

FERC’s approval is one of many steps which are each necessary, but not separately sufficient, to authorize the project’s development. Opponents of FERC’s 2-1 ruling in favor of the project focus their criticism on alleged contradictions within the ruling. The ruling states that the project will have significant environmental impacts but asserts that they can be controlled by certain regulatory requirements. Opponents believe that these conditions are both insufficient and unenforceable.

As noted last week in CIB, the NC Dept. of Environmental Quality (DEQ) rejected a requested erosion and sedimentation permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. That rejection was the first state decision on multiple permit approvals which the pipeline must receive in order to move forward.

Duke Energy and three other energy companies are seeking state approvals for the proposed 600-mile-long pipeline to carry natural gas from West Virginia to North Carolina. It would traverse multiple streams and rivers through eight NC counties. In addition to the erosion and sedimentation control permit, the project would require on the state level in NC a water quality permit, air quality permit, and stormwater management permits.

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