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Another Pipeline Hits Regulator Roadblock

Charles City County

Plans for another natural gas pipeline are on hold after state regulators refused to issue a permit. 

Virginia Natural Gas had hoped to expand its network to supply a power plant in Charles City County, southeast of Richmond, – a plant that has not yet been built.  Chesapeake Bay Foundation lawyer Taylor Lilley argued against the project.

“Virginia Natural Gas was proposing a 6-part project.  It was going to include three segments of pipeline adding up to about 24.1 miles total and then three compressor stations – the construction of two new ones and the expansion of an existing one.”   

She told the State Corporation Commission that the project would threaten 153 acres of wetlands and 313 acres of forest. The utility could apply again for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity, but Lilley says making its case will be even more difficult.

"They are going to be doing that in a much different regulatory landscape than they were when they first submitted this application.  Virginia now has an environmental justice act, the Clean Economy Act and a new energy plan,   all of which are very black and white about how the Commonwealth feels about environmental justice, its role in decisionmaking, and also the future that the Commonwealth sees as far as its energy portfolio.  Quite frankly, it doesn't seem to include infrastructure like Virginia Natural Gas's Header Improvement Project." 

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation also argued that the pipeline expansion would put an undue burden on low income communities already stuck with a landfill and two compressor stations by further polluting the air in the city of Chesapeake, Prince William, Fauquier, Caroline, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent and Charles City Counties.

Sandy Hausman is Radio IQ's Charlottesville Bureau Chief