Controversial Virginia pipeline canceled after years of legal challenges, permit issues

The project was 3.5 years behind, $3 billion over budget

Supporters and critics of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) are reacting after Dominion Energy and Duke Energy announced they were cancelling the project on Sunday.

The cancellation of the ACP is a big win for environmental advocates like Greg Buppert, the senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center, which fought the pipeline in court for six years.

“It’s a very big deal if you live on the route or you didn’t live on the route,” said Buppert.

Dominion Energy and Duke Energy pulled the plug on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. (WSLS)

Buppert said the ACP would have cut through federally protected lands, steep mountains and communities like Union Hill, which was founded by freed slaves after the Civil War.

The decision is a blow to Richmond-based Dominion Energy and Duke Energy out of North Carolina, which jointly led the project.

Legal challenges to the project’s federal and state permits caused about a 3.5 year delay and put the pipeline at least $3 billion over budget.

In a joint statement, Dominion and Duke officials said: “This announcement reflects the increasing legal uncertainty that overhangs large-scale energy and industrial infrastructure development in the United States. Until these issues are resolved, the ability to satisfy the country’s energy needs will be significantly challenged.”

Virginia Chamber of Commerce President Barry DuVal said that the project had bipartisan support and now the Commonwealth’s going to miss out on about 9,000 jobs and $1.4 billion in economic activity.

“I was very disappointed,” said DuVal. “This project was going to be developed in a manner that was environmentally safe and economically sound.”

Another pipeline in Virgina, the Mountain Valley Pipeline, is still on track to be finished by 2021.

A spokesperson told 10 News in a statement:

“From the beginning, ACP and Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) have been very different projects, as evidenced by the fact that total project work for MVP is roughly 92% complete.

MVP will play a critical role in meeting the growing demand for a reliable, affordable, clean-burning source of domestic energy in the mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United States.”

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