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Dominion, Duke abandon plans to build $8B Atlantic Coast Pipeline, citing ‘increasing legal uncertainty’

WASHINGTON – Dominion Energy and Duke Energy announced Wednesday they are abandoning plans to build their much-maligned Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a $8 billion project that would have delivered natural gas through the West Virginia-Virginia border to customers in other states.

Instead, the companies said they are seeking regulatory approval to connect to an existing natural gas pipeline system and create two projects with their affiliate, Duke Energy Progress.

The company said the projects would instead transport 2.2 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas over 41 miles, about one-sixth of the original project.

“Regulatory uncertainty in the market and continued cost escalation led us to reduce the amount of money that’s required for the project,” Tom Farrell, chairman, president and chief executive of Dominion Energy, said in a statement. “We still believe there is a need for new natural gas infrastructure, but the cost of that infrastructure can’t be met if we proceed under the framework that has been proposed.”

That framework would have necessitated an enormous transfer of power from the states along the line to the New York City area, a process that the Clinton administration likened to selling New York City a “plumber’s license.”

Both companies are owned by Dominion Energy, which merged with Duke Energy in 2017 and is one of the largest natural gas companies in the United States.

Together the two companies control about two-thirds of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s potential gas supplies, which sat in open storage for months while the projects were under development.

But fierce resistance from opponents and mounting regulatory problems had prompted Dominion and Duke to delay and then ultimately scrap the project in 2018. The final blow came this week when a federal judge ruled Dominion in a lawsuit over the pipeline’s permit failed to disclose “forecasts of decreased use for electricity generation.”

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