Atlantic Coast Pipeline: Legal, Regulatory Threats

Investors Beware: Atlantic Coast Pipeline Faces Multiple Legal, Regulatory Threats

New investor briefing highlights the long list of challenges to ACP’s viability

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A briefing for Dominion Energy investors released today breaks down the major challenges the Atlantic Coast Pipeline faces. The project, which is currently two years behind schedule and estimated to be more than $2 billion over budget, faces significant financial, legal and regulatory hurdles.

“The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is an environmental, climate and human rights boondoggle,” said Donna Chavis, lead Atlantic Coast Pipeline campaigner with Friends of the Earth. “As the transition to clean energy gathers pace, the risks and growing costs of this major methane gas pipeline project look increasingly unwise to ratepayers, regulators and investors alike.”

The briefing outlines the many significant regulatory and legal burdens the pipeline faces. Besides the vacating of a key U.S. Forest Service permit, for which project sponsors plan an appeal to the Supreme Court, there are challenges to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service permits, a lawsuit aiming to block the Buckingham County Compressor Station, legal challenges to permits issued in North Carolina and a well-organized citizen’s surveillance initiative that aims to report every possible construction violation should construction ever restart. Currently, seven federal permits have been stayed, suspended or vacated, which has put a halt to construction along the entire pipeline.

Lorne Stockman, senior research analyst at Oil Change International and co-author of the report said, “The Atlantic Coast Pipeline was always a bad idea. But now it’s clearer than ever that it is a failure. While news about the project’s challenges has mostly focused on the Forest Service permit and Appalachian Trail crossing, this report shows that the project’s problems do not stop there. If Dominion and Duke don’t drop the project soon, investors can only expect more cost hikes and delays.”

The over budget project continues to hemorrhage money. Dominion Energy claims that the halt on construction is costing the company $20 million per week. Additionally, Moody’s Investors Service stated in February 2019 that “Dominion’s execution risk with its Atlantic Coast pipeline is credit negative.”

The briefing details the full list of challenges facing the project and is being released as Dominion holds its 2019 investor day meetings, which are set to begin this morning at 9:30 a.m. Eastern time.

The full briefing is available here.

Contacts: Friends of the Earth: Patrick Davis, (202) 222-0744, [email protected]
Oil Change International: David Turnbull, (202) 316-3499, [email protected]

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