Conference Call with Dominion Transmission Officials Part One

Last Tuesday Dominion officials spoke with the press by conference call to give updates on the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Aaron Ruby, from media relations introduced the speakers, Diane Leopold, President of Dominion Energy, and Leslie Hart , Dominion’s Vice President of Construction, and explained there would be time for questions from journalists after the comments.

Diane Leopold, President,

“I do want to talk briefly about why we are proposing this project, and what it means for the future of the region. Our energy needs are growing in Virginia and North Carolina. Demand for natural gas in the region is expected to increase by one hundred sixty- five percent by 2035. That growth is driven by the need for cleaner sources of electricity, home heating for a growing population, and energy to fuel economic development.”

An early stage of this enormous project, Bath County residents are now most aware of, is the request for surveys. Leopold’s description acknowledges there is still some work to be done.

“Surveys play a vitally important role in this process. They insure that we choose the most environmentally responsible route with the least possible impact on landowners and communities. Over the last eighteen months we have surveyed over four hundred and fifty miles of the proposed route. And we’ve evaluated over six thousand miles of potential route in order to choose the best path. We’ve received permission to survey about ninety percent of the originally proposed route, and we are already making significant progress in obtaining permission to survey the alternative route that we’ve adopted in the last month or so.”

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, has also requested more information from Dominion related to the newly proposed route. Again Diane Leopold,

“Once we complete our responses to FERC’s requests, which we anticipate completing next month, we are confident the agency will be in a position to complete a draft Environmental Impact Statement, which is the next important milestone for the project.”

One other milestone is the FERC scoping process, and concerned citizens from all of the counties the pipeline is proposed to pass through, are waiting to hear when that will be scheduled. During the questions that followed the comments, Leslie Hart, Vice President of construction, acknowledged Dominion is also waiting to hear when those hearings will begin.

“Based on our extensive consultations over the last several months we believe we’ve selected a viable route that will receive the agency’s approval, and we’re really waiting on FERC right now with respect to how they’re going to determine the scoping process itself through the counties that are affected by this new route.”

Several more questions from journalists, and responses from these two Dominion officials will be available in another piece of this news story from Allegheny Mountain Radio. A more complete version of this press teleconference will be available on the radio station’s website.

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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