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Dominion, Duke Energy drop plans for gas pipeline from W.Va. to NC

Posted July 5, 2020 3:43 p.m. EDT
Updated July 6, 2020 3:53 p.m. EDT

— Dominion Energy and Duke Energy announced the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project on Sunday, citing cost uncertainty and ongoing delays.

The decision comes after a U.S. Supreme Court decision in June in which the court ruled by a 7-2 margin that the natural gas pipeline would be allowed to cross the Appalachian Trail.

The pipeline would have carried natural gas more than 600 miles from northern West Virginia to southeastern North Carolina.

A press release indicated that public guidance of the cost of the project had increased to $8 billion from around $4.5 billion.

Environmental advocacy groups had long opposed the project, while its proponents pointed out the economic boost it would bring to the affected areas.

“We regret that we will be unable to complete the Atlantic Coast Pipeline," Thomas Farrell II, Dominion Energy chairman, president and chief executive officer, and Lynn Good, Duke Energy chair, president and chief executive officer, said in a joint statement.

"For almost six years, we have worked diligently and invested billions of dollars to complete the project and deliver the much-needed infrastructure to our customers and communities."

The pipeline project was initially announced in 2014.

In early 2018, North Carolina regulators approved a key permit for the pipeline, and within hours, Gov. Roy Cooper announced a $58 million fund that Duke and Dominion would pay into for economic development in the eight North Carolina counties through which the pipeline would pass.

Lawmakers blasted the fund, which the Cooper administration would control, and quickly shifted the funds to school districts along the pipeline's path. No money was ever paid into the fund, however, because litigation stalled the project.

“This decision and the changing energy landscape should lead to cleaner and more reliable energy generation in North Carolina," said Gov. Cooper in a statement Sunday. "Our Clean Energy Plan provides an excellent framework and stakeholder process for renewable energy moving forward.”

The General Assembly later brought in outside investigators to review how the permitting process was handled. In a report released late last year, the investigators suggested improper influence but never concluded any laws were broken.

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