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Atlantic Coast pipeline receives Virginia National Park approval

Published by , Senior Editor
World Pipelines,

According to a release from Dominion Energy yesterday, the National Park Service approved the pipeline's construction, but there's still numerous contingencies on the project. 

The news comes just days after a panel of Virginia regulators granted a conditional permit for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline contingent on getting more information about the project's water quality impacts.

The Virginia State Water Control Board voted 4-3 on Tuesday to approve a key Clean Water Act permit. The board is charged with determining whether there is "reasonable assurance" water along the route won't be contaminated during construction.

Now, the National Park Service has given authorisation for the construction and operation of the pipeline underneath the Blue Ridge Parkway.

"After more than three years of exhaustive study, this week the National Park Service issued Construction and Right of Way permits for the Blue Ridge Parkway crossing," said Aaron Ruby, Dominion Energy spokesman, in a release.

"The agency concluded that the crossing is consistent with the long-term conservation of scenery, wildlife and cultural resources under the agency’s care. The agency’s approval was reached after more than three years of careful study and meaningful engagement with the public and other agencies."

In constructing the pipeline, Dominion said it would use the "most protective crossing method," which would avoid surface impacts and preserve views. That would be done using a technique known as a Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD), a release said, and the pipeline would be installed through a tunnel 800 ft below the parkway.

"This ensures that construction and operation of the pipeline will have no impact on the public use or enjoyment of the parkway," Ruby said in a release. "We’ve always believed it’s important to balance the energy needs of consumers with the preservation of cultural resources. The park service’s approval shows that through collaboration with agencies, we can responsibly develop infrastructure while preserving cultural resources for the enjoyment of future generations.”

The pipeline, once approved and constructed, would stretch 600 miles from West Virginia through Virginia to North Carolina.

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