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US Forest Service shows concern over proposed pipeline

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World Pipelines,

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has recently received a correspondence from the US Forest Service’s Forest Supervisor, Clyde Thompson, expressing the agency’s concerns regarding several locations that had been marked for the construction of an access road to the proposed Atlantic Coast pipeline in Bath County.

The 600 mile natural gas pipeline project is led by Dominion Energy.

In the letter, Thompson asks that the proposed stream crossings and locations of access roads be re-evaluated, by consideration of forest plan standards and best practices relating to soil and water.

He states that building the roads along the Laurel Run wild brook trout stream is "unacceptable." FERC is currently reviewing the matter, which was submitted on 1 September, said spokesperson Celeste Miller.

Dominion spokesperson, Aaron Ruby, has said that its Atlantic Coast pipeline remains on track to receive federal approval to begin construction in late summer 2017, regardless of the US Forest Service letter. The company believes that the requests from the Forest Service are normal.

Ernie Reed, President of Wild Virginia, disagrees. He thinks the Forest Service’s action will at the very least push back Dominion's timeline for release of its Draft Environmental Impact Statement, previously slated for December 2016.

“This is a normal part of the process,” said Ruby. “FERC is developing a draft environmental impact statement and is seeking input from the coordinating agencies involved in the process.”

He added: “As we progress through the environmental review, we will continue working with the coordinating agencies, including the US Forest Service, to address concerns or minimise or avoid environmental impacts.”

The Forest Service has also questioned reports that Dominion submitted to FERC on salamanders, macroinvertebrates, fish and mussels and soils in the National Forests. Critical soil survey data is "incomplete," according to a Wild Virginia press release.

The pipeline is still under review by FERC, which has the final say on pipelines.

Edited from various sources by Anna Nicklin

Sources: Washington's Top News, Roanoke, News Leader, WHSV, Augusta Free Press

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