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Virginia Voters Favor Atlantic Coast Pipeline By Almost 2-1, Survey Finds

A majority of Virginia voters supports the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC (ACP), according to poll results published Wednesday by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce.

A survey of likely voters in the state found that 55% support building the pipeline, while 29% said they oppose it and 16% were unsure.

The poll, which covered a range of other topics relevant to Virginia voters, was conducted by the Tarrance Group, a Republican research and polling firm based out of Alexandria, VA.

The 600-mile, 1.5 Bcf/d ACP would be built and operated by Dominion Resources Inc. through a joint venture with Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas and Southern Company Gas. ACP, estimated to cost $4.5-5 billion, would begin as 42-inch diameter pipe in Harrison County, WV, and cross southeast into Virginia before splitting into a 36-inch segment extending into North Carolina and 20-inch lateral to southeast Virginia.

The project is designed to transport natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shales to meet electricity and heating demand in the Southeast.

A coalition of Virginia chambers of commerce previously came out in favor of ACP in a letter to Virginia’s two Democratic senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine.

Dominion spokesman Aaron Ruby said Wednesday’s poll “confirms that the overwhelming majority of Virginians support the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. If this were an election, it would be a landslide. Virginians understand that natural gas is a cleaner alternative to coal and that this pipeline will help us improve our environment. They understand that we need to build new infrastructure to grow our economy and power the lives of a growing population.”

As a major greenfield transmission project attempting to cross the largely undeveloped terrain along the Virginia/West Virginia border, ACP has encountered pushback from environmental groups and some landowners along its route (see Daily GPI, June 22; May 17).

“While a small but vocal minority of opponents has received disproportionate attention, the vast majority of Virginians support this pipeline as a common sense solution to our growing energy needs,” Ruby said. “They want a cleaner environment; they want new industries; they want good-paying jobs. And they understand that it takes infrastructure like the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to make it all possible.”

Earlier this year, Dominion had to develop a significant alternative route for ACP after the U.S. Forest Service took issue with the original proposed path through the George Washington and Monongahela national forests (see Daily GPI, Feb. 12).

Dominion CEO Thomas Farrell acknowledged during a conference last month that ACP’s original target in-service date of 4Q2018 would be pushed back to 2019 because of the prolonged regulatory timetable (see Daily GPI, Sept. 22).

FERC’s notice of schedule for ACP set a June 30, 2017, deadline for the final environmental impact statement, with a 90-day federal authorization deadline of Sept. 28, 2017 (see Daily GPI, Aug. 12).

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