Developers cancel Atlantic Coast project

Dominion Energy Inc. and Duke Energy Corp. said today they are killing the Atlantic Coast pipeline, citing ongoing delays and concerns over the $8 billion project's economic viability.

The utilities said they decided to pull the plug on the pipeline — which would have carried natural gas through West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina — for a variety of reasons, including permitting delays, legal challenges and an unfavorable decision from the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana blocking a major pipeline permitting program.

In a joint statement, Dominion Energy President Thomas Farrell II and Duke Energy President Lynn Good said the developers regretted being unable to complete the pipeline.

"This announcement reflects the increasing legal uncertainty that overhangs large-scale energy and industrial infrastructure development in the United States," Farrell and Good said. "Until these issues are resolved, the ability to satisfy the country's energy needs will be significantly challenged."

The cancellation comes after the developers scored a victory last month at the U.S. Supreme Court, which reversed a 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that would have stopped the pipeline from traveling under the Appalachian Trail (Greenwire, June 16).

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) today said he was disappointed to learn of the pipeline's cancellation and said the project would've created "good paying" construction and manufacturing jobs.

"Today's announcement is yet another reminder of why it is critically important we work together to find a responsible balance between the environment and economy," Manchin said in a statement.

Environmentalist groups welcomed the decision. 350.org founder Bill McKibben called the news of the cancellation "truly enormous."

"After powerful organizing by tens of thousands of great activists, Duke Energy and Dominion Energy throw in the towel and cancel Atlantic Coast Pipeline," McKibben said on Twitter. "Such thanks to those who fought."

Dominion Energy said in a separate announcement today that it has agreed to sell its natural gas transmission and storage assets to Berkshire Hathaway Energy in an estimated $10 billion deal.

Twitter: @cjanchondoEmail: canchondo@eenews.net

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