FERC has authorized construction to begin on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) in North Carolina.
In a notice to proceed (NTP) issued on Tuesday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission granted the natural gas pipeline project’s request to begin work on construction spreads in the state where trees have been felled and on other properties where the company has access.
ACP has already received several notices to proceed with construction along the 600-mile route that spans West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. Like other larger infrastructure projects, sponsors have taken an incremental approach in requesting regulatory approvals, as environmental groups have stepped up their fight against oil and natural gas pipelines, and as more federal and state agencies have become involved in the regulatory process.
ACP would originate in West Virginia, pass through Virginia and into North Carolina to move 1.5 Bcf/d of natural gas to the Southeast. The project’s backers are still targeting a 2019 in-service date, even though they continue to face regulatory and legal challenges.
For example, the project was forced to suspend some work along the route in May after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit invalidated its incidental take permit, which is required for activities that could result in the take of, or a negative impact to, threatened wildlife. The company is still waiting for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to revise the permit.
The ruling, however, does not affect any construction plans in North Carolina. FERC’s NTP for work in the state applies to a long list of construction spreads and also allows the project to use and improve access roads there, among other things.
The Sierra Club chided the latest NTP after it was issued, calling the Commission’s decision to green light work in North Carolina “disappointing.”
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