FERC issues notice for Atlantic Coast Pipeline construction to commence

CLARKSBURG — The Federal Regulatory Commission issued a partial notice to proceed with aspects of construction for Dominion Energy’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline Thursday.

The notice gives Dominion permission to commence “full construction” in areas of Upshur County and Halifax County, North Carolina.

The approval will allow the company to begin constructing contractor yards along the areas where the pipeline itself will be constructed, according to Aaron Ruby, a Dominion spokesman.

“These are the areas along the right of way where we’re going to store our materials, our equipment. It’s where the work crews convene every morning before they go out to the worksite,” Ruby said. “So this is an important step forward for the project.”

The FERC notice is the most recent green light the project has received, Ruby said.

“Over the several months now we’ve been receiving a series of incremental approvals to begin work on different pre-construction and construction activities from FERC,” he said.

“This is another incremental approval in that process that is ultimately going to lead to the beginning of full construction on the entire project later this spring.”

Robert Hinton, executive director of the Upshur County Development Authority, said his community has been anticipating the start of local construction for several years.

“We’ve been watching it for a while,” he said. “Meetings have been going on since 2013 or 2014, so we’re excited.”

The pipeline and related construction should bring an infusion of money, jobs and opportunity into Upshur County, Hinton said.

“I’ve heard from a lot of oil and gas property owners who are going to benefit from the construction,” he said. “Obviously, the construction jobs that are going to come in are going to give a boost to the economy.”

The pipeline will cross more than 600 miles between Harrison County and Greensville County, Virginia, to transport natural gas produced in West Virginia to energy users in Virginia and North Carolina.

According to information on the project’s website, the pipeline is estimated to generate 17,240 jobs across West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina and bring more than $2.7 billion in total economic activity.

Approximately 7,200 construction workers will be needed in 2018 and 5,600 in 2019 as the construction hits its peak.

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is one of two major pipeline projects underway in West Virginia.

The Mountain Valley Pipeline, a project of EQT and several other partners, will span more than 300 miles from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia. The pipeline will be used to supply natural gas from Marcellus and Utica Shale production to markets in the Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic.

According to information on the project’s website, the pipeline will traverse 11 West Virginia counties.

The pipeline’s owners plan to spend $811 million directly on resources, including equipment, materials, labor and services, in West Virginia.

The project is estimated to create more than 4,500 jobs — 2,829 of which would be directly involved in the construction, 633 would be created along the supply-chain and 1,052 jobs would be created in the general economy.

It’s estimated the project will generate $47 million in tax revenue.

Onc complete, it will support 54 jobs, with average annual wages and benefits of almost $65,000.

The project has a targeted in-service date of “late 2018,” said Natalie Cox, a spokeswoman for the Mountain Valley Pipeline.


This article was authored by Charles Young for WV News. Click here to read it on the publication's website.