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Atlantic Coast Pipeline Reportedly Eyed by Trump Team as High-Priority Infrastructure

After signaling its support for the controversial Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, the Trump administration may be looking to fast track the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) as well.

ACP has showed up on the Trump team's working list of the nation's high priority infrastructure projects, according to a document obtained by the McClatchy network of news organizations. The unofficial list, reportedly part of an information-gathering process for a potential infrastructure investment program, is made up primarily of transportation projects, with ACP and the Alaska Pipeline and LNG Project being the only oil and gas items.

The report of the infrastructure list comes as the Trump administration announced an executive order Tuesday to "[expedite] environmental reviews and approvals for high priority infrastructure projects."

"...Too often, infrastructure projects in the United States have been routinely and excessively delayed by agency processes and procedures," the order says. "These delays have increased project costs and blocked the American people from the full benefits of increased infrastructure investments, which are important to allowing Americans to compete and win on the world economic stage."

ACP spokesman Aaron Ruby told NGIThursday that the pipeline and its lead developer Dominion can't comment on the  reported infrastructure list since it's unverified. Ruby did, however, say that ACP is "encouraged" by signs that the Trump administration is making energy infrastructure a priority.

"The administration has very clearly and powerfully expressed a sense of urgency to rebuild the nation's energy infrastructure, and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline plays a major role in that. So we welcome the administration's commitment," Ruby said. "We're very encouraged by the executive actions taken in recent days, and now we're going to work with the administration on the next important steps."

Whether ACP's review process will be expedited as a result of recent executive actions remains to be seen. Dominion already pushed back the target in-service date for the 600-mile, 1.5 Bcf/d pipeline from 4Q2018 to sometime in 2019 as it awaits a FERC decision on its certificate application.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission released the project's draft environmental impact statement on the last business day of 2016 and will be accepting comments on that document through April 6.

ACP, which would run through West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina to connect Appalachian Basin natural gas to heating and electric generation demand in the Southeast, is a joint venture of Dominion, Duke Energy and Southern Company Gas.

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