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December 14, 2017

Unanswered Questions: NC Gas Pipeline Delayed

A pipeline that would carry natural gas across North Carolina and Virginia faces another delay in the Tar Heel State, as Department of Environmental Quality officials ask another round of questions about the risks and benefits of the project.

Duke and Dominion Energy are proposing a 600-mile pipeline that would carry natural gas from fracking operations to power plants in North and South Carolina. Kelly Martin, director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Dirty Fuels Campaign, said the project only presents an opportunity for the power companies, and potential costs and health risks for North Carolina taxpayers.

“Why are we going to be responsible for the burden of the pollution and the increased rates for a project that only serves Duke Energy and Dominion Energy to make profits for them?” Martin said.

Duke and Dominion say the pipeline is needed to ensure their service areas have access to needed power. Demand for fossil fuels has decreased in recent years, as residents and businesses explore clean energy such as solar and wind.

Opponents also are concerned about the potential hazards of a pipeline containing a hazardous substance contaminating groundwater and exposing property owners to danger. Earlier this year, construction of a fracking gas pipeline in Ohio spilled tons of drilling fluid into a river.

Martin said the project isn’t worth the risk.

“This is a dangerous way to get gas,” she said. “And what the big deal is here is that we don’t even need this gas for electricity, we don’t need it to heat and cool our homes and we don’t need it for industrial uses.”

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has authority to grant permission for the pipeline, but the law also grants North Carolina and Virginia the rights to ensure their water and residents won’t be harmed during construction. Duke and Dominion have 30 days to respond to the additional request for information.

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