After Years of Delays, Duke and Dominion Cancel Atlantic Coast Pipeline

After Years of Delays, Duke and Dominion Cancel Atlantic Coast Pipeline

July 7, 2020

On Sunday, the two major utilities building the Atlantic Coast Pipeline pulled the plug on the project, a 600-mile conduit to carry fracked gas from West Virginia through Virginia and North Carolina.

Duke Energy Corp. and Dominion Energy Inc. said they were abandoning the proposed $8 billion pipeline that faced a series of legal challenges related to the project’s federal and state permits that caused significant project cost increases and timing delays. Cumulatively, these pushed up the project cost to $8 billion from the original estimate of $4.5 to $5.0 billion

According to the Wall Street JournalEditorial Board:

A 7-2 Supreme Court majority cleared one roadblock last month, but Dominion and Duke say a nationwide injunction in April by federal Judge Brian Morris in Montana against the Keystone XL pipeline has created new headaches.

The Clean Water Act authorizes the Corps to issue five-year general nationwide permits for de minimis discharges into waterways caused by the construction of pipelines and transmission lines.

Yet Judge Morris declared that the Corps unlawfully issued the permit without first consulting other agencies about its endangered species impact. Numerous federal reviews have found Keystone doesn’t threaten any endangered species. In other words, the judge called an erroneous foot fault on match point. The kicker is that the judge enjoined the nationwide permit only as it applies to oil and natural gas pipelines, so other utility construction like transmission lines carrying wind power can proceed. 

The American Petroleum Institute estimates the judge’s injunction will affect 75 pipelines.

Judge Brian Morris was nominated by former President Barack Obama, who created regulatory obstacles for the Keystone Pipeline when he was in office.

Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) expressed his disappointment over the project’s end on Twitter, arguing in a statement that the project “would have created good-paying construction and manufacturing jobs for hard-working West Virginians.”

The cancelation of the ACP project, which represented one of the three biggest U.S. pipelines, comes as yet another setback to the U.S. energy industry that has already been struggling under the coronavirus-induced lack of power demand. The eco-left’s continued war on fossil fuels is putting millions of American jobs at risk, as well as the future of a vital and valuable part of the U.S. economy.

The WSJ Editorial Board concluded, “The left’s climate obsession is already misallocating capital and damaging growth, and ACP is the portent of uncreative destruction to come.” We couldn’t agree more.