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Atlantic Coast Pipeline Faces Last Hurdle in Virginia

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Steve Helber
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AP

 

 

The controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline faces its final regulatory hurdle in Virginia: permits to be voted on by the state water control board. The two day board meeting began Monday morning with a pump-up for anti pipeline activists. 

 

“I believe that we will win!” chanted the crowd.

Public comment began at 10 am and lasted beyond 5 pm. Plenty were there to speak in favor of the natural gas pipeline. One was Delegate Roxann Robinson of Chesterfield County. The pipeline won’t go through her district, but she thinks it will be an important part of Virginia’s energy future. 

 

“And we need to be able to transport the natural gas across the Commonwealth and to North Carolina and to the coastline,” said Robinson. 

 

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Credit Mallory Noe-Payne / RADIO IQ
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RADIO IQ
A small group of pipeline supporters outside Monday's meeting.

Many others though say the state isn’t doing enough to protect Virginia’s waters. Regulators won’t be analyzing each stream crossing in the pipeline’s path, instead relying on a blanket permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. 

 

Jennifer Lewis, president of the anti-pipeline group Friends of Augusta, says that’s just not enough. 

 

“It’s inaccurate and it’s not safe,” Lewis said. “I want them to go to each stream crossing and do an analysis on each stream, each body of water, each wetland.” 

Last week the board opted not to require that level of analysis for the Mountain Valley Pipeline.Opponents though are still holding out hope they will require it for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The board received more 15,000 comments on the project. 

 

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline will run more than 600 miles and through 11 Virginia counties, supplying natural gas from West Virginia to southeast Virginia and North Carolina. 

 

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

 

 

Mallory Noe-Payne is Radio IQ's Richmond reporter and bureau chief. She's covered policy and politics from the state capital since 2016. She was a 2020-2021 recipient of the Fulbright Young Journalist Award. She spent a year in Munich, Germany researching memory, justice, and how a society can collectively confront its sins. Her Virginia-based coverage of home healthcare workers, voting rights, and Richmond’s Slave Trail have won national news awards.
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