Dominion Officials by Phone Part TWO

Just over a week ago two Dominion officials, Diane Leopold, and Leslie Hart  held a press conference by telephone. Allegheny Mountain Radio participated, and this is part two of the news segment based on that question and answer session.

A representative of SMP Global Market Intelligence inquired about the overall financial picture of the project as a result of changes that had occurred on the original route. The new route as of February 12th was not included in this question.

“You mentioned that there is a new viable route, and looking back at the new route changes that were adopted in October 2016, and how they increased the cost by about two hundred and seventy-two million, and I was wondering if that was a viable route that you just mentioned, how will that impact the project financially?

Diane Leopold, President of Dominion Transmission:

“Of course adding thirty miles to the project does entail additional cost, but we are still within our original budget. The total cost of the project remains four and a half billion to five billion dollars, or five point one billion if you include financing. That has not changed since we originally proposed the project. For large projects like this, such as the Atlantic Coast Pipeline we do plan for a certain level of uncertainty, and these kinds of additional costs, so we are still within our original budget.”

When asked what Dominion expected both the Federal Energy Regulatory Comission and the Forest Service’s responses to be about passing through land adjacent to that previously denied permitting, and similar very steep terrain, Leslie Hart, Vice President for construction replied,

“As we continue to cross Forest Serviced land we continue to conduct same surveys, as required by our survey protocol, that the Forest Service will review and approve. In terms of terrain, we’ll do the same geotechnical surveys that we did on the original route. We’ve committed to employing best in class technology concerning construction in steep terrain, so we’ll follow all of those same processes to minimize impact, and have best construction techniques.”

Soon it was my turn in the queue to ask a question, and I know of almost half a dozen landowners in Bath and western Augusta who are denying surveyors access to their land.

“So I understand that April 15th was when you were hoping to have surveying done by, and I’m just curious how this legal action that is going to result from these denying surveys is going to affect your time line.”

“uh yes, clarification, the April 15th date is not necessarily the date when all surveys will be complete. Uh, we are please that we have over sixty percent of the landowners on this new revised route already grant us access. We are currently surveying in the field. We recognize the sensitivity of the issue with the landowners, and we will follow the same process that we have followed before with the residents in Bath County. Our goal is to work with the landowners, however if the landowners are firm in their denial of access, we will proceed as we have with following the required court actions. And I will note that just yesterday the judge in Augusta County ruled in our favor on our right to gain access to properties for survey permission, but again our first priority is to work with the landowners, and gain the access with their support.”

Could I also ask what percentage of landowners in Nelson County have denied access, or are continuing to be involved with legal action?

Both Ms. Leopold, and Ms. Hart responded.

“We don’t have the exact number right in front of us, but we have made significant progress in the surveying.”

“And I will say that the cases in Nelson County have been heard by the judge, and we expect a ruling from that judge in the near future also.”

For the complete version of this conference call with press and radio, please visit the news page at


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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