Dominion has notified landowners along a 300-foot wide study corridor. Preliminary survey work and route planning have been under way since May 2014.
Dominion continues to refine the proposed route, thanks to the nearly 73 percent of affected landowners who have given us permission to survey. Crews are surveying and obtaining information from affected landowners along the way to determine the best route with least impacts to the environment, historic and cultural resources.
Special Notice for landowners in Nelson, Augusta and Buckingham counties
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) has identified several potential alternate routes for the interstate natural gas pipeline through Nelson County and parts of Augusta and Buckingham counties. We are sending letters today to landowners along the alternatives seeking their permission to survey. Surveys are the only way to understand fully the potential benefits and constraints of these potential alternatives.
These alternate routes are in addition to the proposed route. (View a map.)
These alternatives are a natural part of the routing process. They are the result of conversations with local, state and federal officials; landowners and other stakeholders. It is consistent with our promise to work with all parties to find the best route with the least impacts to people, the environment, and historic and cultural resources. It also is consistent with what we have done elsewhere along the proposed route.
No decision has been made on which route will be submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Agency (FERC) as the preferred route. That will require surveying the alternatives as well as the completing surveying work on the proposed route.
Throughout the development of the ACP, Dominion’s construction, engineering and environmental teams have reviewed and evaluated more than 3,000 miles of route variations. Typically, the first steps in evaluating route alternatives are: (1) to identify and try to avoid potential constraints and (2) to conduct surveys and environmental studies along the potential alternative route corridor. In almost all cases, evaluation of alternate routes is an exercise of balancing competing constraints. Identifying the least impactful route is always the objective. And, building and operating safely is our paramount concern.
The ACP will host an informational open house on these alternate routes on Thursday, March 5, at a time and location to be determined.
The Appalachian Trail South Alternative
The ACP must cross the Appalachian Trail (AT) as it continues from West Virginia through Virginia and on to North Carolina. Many other natural gas pipelines, electric transmission lines and other infrastructure projects already cross the trail. Our proposed route has a constructible crossing that we believe minimizes any potential impact on the trail and its surrounding area.
After discussions with stakeholders, Dominion has identified another viable route on a section of the AT that is in the George Washington National Forest, about 8 miles southwest of the proposed crossing. We are requesting permission from GWNF officials to survey this alternate route.
On this alternate route, Dominion has studied and determined that it would be feasible to use Horizontal Directional Drill (HDD) construction to install the ACP well below both the AT and the Blue Ridge Parkway, with no trees removed and no long-term visual impacts.
While the construction is more challenging and several more roads are crossed, this alternate route would be about 1 ½ miles shorter and cross about 10 fewer water bodies than the proposed route. It would change the route in eastern Augusta County to align with one end of the boring.
East of Lovingston Alternate
Many Nelson County landowners and residents have asked us to consider avoiding the areas damaged by Hurricane Camille in planning the ACP route. This alternate route avoids areas identified by The Nature Conservancy as critical habitat, Davis Creek, and areas that were hardest hit by Hurricane Camille in 1969. This alternate route would straighten out the proposed route east of Lovingston, the Nelson County seat, and is about 5 miles shorter than the proposed route.
East of Lovingston Connector
If the AT South Alternative is chosen for crossing the Blue Ridge Mountains, the ACP must rejoin the original proposed route or connect with the East of Lovingston Alternate route. This connector would be about 5.4 miles in length.
Interstate natural gas pipelines make every effort to avoid historic districts where possible. During conversations with landowners and community leaders along the proposed route, Dominion was made aware of a pending historic district designation for the Norwood – Wingina section of Nelson County because of its unique historical significance. The Virginia State Review Board and the Department of Historic Resources has recommended that the Norwood – Wingina Historic District be eligible for nomination to the national and state registers. Formal nomination to the National Register of Historic Places is expected in March 2015.
The Wingina Alternate would move the proposed route to avoid the Norwood – Wingina Historic District. It would shorten the length of the route through Nelson County by about 1 mile and cross the James River under a narrower section of the river, approximately 3 miles northeast of the proposed route. It would require a slight route variation in Buckingham County.
Special Notice for landowners in Randolph and Pocahontas counties, W.Va., and Highland County, Va.
Feb. 16, 2015 -- The company is looking at a potential alternate route for the pipeline that includes properties in Randolph and Pocahontas counties, W.Va., and Highland County, Va. Both the alternate route and the proposed preferred route involve the Monongahela National Forest. Dominion is pursuing survey permission to determine if the alternate route is more suitable than the proposed preferred route. Letters seeking permission to survey were mailed to the landowners along the alternate route at the end of last week.
This alternate route was discussed in Resource Report 10, which was filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in early December. The alternative was described as MNF 5, beginning on page 10-20 under “Southern Route Alternatives.”