Dominion Energy’s controversial plan to construct a natural gas pipeline crossing Virginia and including a community largely populated by African Americans has been canceled.
The decision, which comes less than three weeks after the Supreme Court rejected arguments that it should not be allowed to cross the Appalachian Trail, has already cost $3.4 billion in a more than five-year-old effort to build the 600-mile link between gas fields in West Virginia as well as for big markets for gas in Hampton Roads, central Virginia and North Carolina.
In describing the deal as a “narrowing of focus,” while Dominion Energy CEO Thomas Farrell said the decision was “another significant step in our evolution as a company, allowing us to focus even more on fulfilling utility customer needs,” Black residents said the pipeline intrusion on their lives did nothing to benefit them.
In a joint statement, Dominion Energy and partner Duke Energy added that the plan that faced ongoing delays and increasing cost uncertainty would have created too much uncertainty for a project already running billions of dollars over initial cost estimates and meant delays in the tree clearing work slated for the winter in order to keep the project from falling further behind schedule.
Meanwhile, Virginia Natural Gas, which serves more than 300,000 customers in southeastern Virginia, and Columbia Natural Gas, which has more than 265,000 customers, including some in Hampton Roads, had signed 20-year commitments for gas to be shipped through the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.