January 8, 2019 / 7:50 PM / a year ago

Virginia gives Dominion permit for Atlantic Coast natgas pipe compressor

    Jan 8 (Reuters) - An environmental board in Virginia
unanimously approved an air permit for a compressor station on
Tuesday for Dominion Energy Inc's       planned nearly $7
billion Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline from West Virginia
to North Carolina.
    The fight over the permit was just one of several battles
Atlantic Coast and other pipelines are facing to move gas from
the Marcellus and Utica shale in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and
Ohio to customers in the U.S. Southeast.
    There are two big gas pipes under construction in Virginia -
Atlantic Coast and EQM Midstream Partners LP's         Mountain
Valley project. Both are at least $1 billion over budget and
about a year behind schedule due primarily to legal battles with
environmental and local groups opposed to the projects.
    "While the (compressor) approval process has concluded, we
know we have to continue building trust in the community," Karl
Neddenien, spokesman for Atlantic Coast said in an email, noting
the company will invest in a new community center, a rescue
squad and more.
    In December, the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board
delayed a vote on the compressor over concerns it would violate
civil rights by forcing the historically African-American Union
Hill community to bear an unequal burden from pollution and
other disruptions.
    In addition to the compressor permit, Dominion has been
dealing with legal battles over other state and federal permits.
    In early December, Dominion suspended all construction on
Atlantic Coast after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth
Circuit stayed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Incidental
Take Statement, which authorized pipeline construction in areas
inhabited by threatened or endangered species.
    Neddenien said construction of the 600-mile (966-km) project
remains on hold pending clarification of the scope of the Fish
and Wildlife permit stay.
    Before the court issued the stay, Dominion said it expected
to complete Atlantic Coast in mid-2020. Now, however, the
company said it was waiting for the outcome of its request for
clarification before offering any update on the project's
schedule or cost.
    Analysts at Height Capital Markets in Washington, D.C., said
in a report that they do not expect Atlantic Coast to enter
service until the fourth quarter of 2020, assuming the utilities
remain committed to the project.
    Atlantic Coast, which is designed to carry 1.5 billion cubic
feet per day of gas, is a partnership between units of Dominion,
Duke Energy Corp         and Southern Co       .

 (Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
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