Pipeline Slowdown: Animal Safety Measures Delay Tree Cutting
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has denied a request by Dominion Energy, the lead builder of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, for more time to cut trees along the route. The company had to stop cutting by the end of March in order to protect migratory birds and endangered bats in the path of the project, planned to run from West Virginia to terminals in Virginia and North Carolina.
Opposing the controversial natural gas pipeline from the Appalachian Mountains to the Atlantic coast, Jamshid Bakhtiari, Virginia field coordinator for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, says the FERC decision will delay, but not stop the project. Yet he states, “It’s a good thing. We should shoot to have more things like this happen in terms of delaying the pipeline. But it’s not a final nail, by any means, in the coffin.”
The pipeline is one of two conduits up to 42 inches in diameter for transporting fracked gas that developers want to build through the central Appalachians. It’s across terrain that critics say is both scenic and poorly suited to heavy infrastructure.
Bakhtiari’s group is part of a broad coalition of organizations, including the Sierra Club, that has mobilized to stop the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The denial means tree clearing has to halt at least until September, and at some points on the route, until November.
This article appears in the September 2018 issue of Natural Awakenings.