Dominion, Duke Energy cancel Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Published 6:27 am Wednesday, July 8, 2020

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Dominion Energy and Duke Energy on Sunday announced the cancelation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) due to ongoing delays and increasing cost uncertainty that threaten the economic viability of the project.

“Despite last month’s overwhelming 7-2 victory at the U.S. Supreme Court, which vindicated the project and decisions made by permitting agencies, recent developments created for the companies an unacceptable layer of uncertainty and anticipated delays for ACP,” according to information provided in the press release.

Specifically, the decision of the United States District Court for the District of Montana overturning long-standing federal permit authority for waterbody and wetland crossings (Nationwide Permit 12), followed by a Ninth Circuit ruling on May 28 indicating an appeal is not likely to be successful, were called “new and serious challenges.”

This new information and litigation risk, among other continuing execution risks, made the project too uncertain to justify investing more shareholder capital.

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline was initially announced in 2014 in response to a lack of energy supply and delivery diversification for millions of families, businesses, schools and national defense installations across North Carolina and Virginia. The project was also expected to create thousands of construction jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenue for local communities across West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina.

In the commonwealth, several miles of pipeline were going to be going through Southampton County, which stood to benefit monetarily through potential jobs and taxes. There had been little to no local opposition to the project.

Mike Johnson, county administrator, said the county would have stood to receive $750,000 to $800,000 from “pure revenue” — that is, no demands on the county’s part.
Josh Holland, an agent for the Southampton County Extension Service, said he’s heard no reaction one way or another from the local agricultural community about the cancellation.

Jay Brenchick, president and CEO of the Franklin-Southampton Economic Development Inc., said, “Our business community wasn’t going to be directly impacted by the addition of the pipeline. Therefore, with the pipeline being cancelled, our business community is not necessarily negatively impacted.”

Southampton County Board of Supervisors Chairman Dr. Alan Edwards was not happy about the news.

“This [cancellation] is a tragedy for us. We were counting on the income. That would have helped us out a lot. We’re very unhappy about it, but there’s nothing we can do about it.”

He added that money that would have come from having the pipeline in the county could have gone toward paying debt service and also help support the required renovation of the Southampton County Courthouse without having to possibly raise taxes.


STEPHEN H. COWLES, staff writer, contributed to this story.