A controversial natural gas pipeline through a portion of Pennsylvania’s Bay watershed cleared a major hurdle last week, not long after another contentious pipeline proposed through Virginia drew expressions of concern from that state’s conservation agency.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued two permits on Wednesday to the builder of the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline, bringing the controversial 180-mile pipeline project closer to breaking ground. The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, meanwhile, expressed reservations about the potential impact of the 550-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline proposed to traverse that state.
The Pennsylvania project required permits to cross 388 streams, rivers and other water bodies and earth-moving permits for 3,700 acres of land, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which has already approved the project. The $3 billion pipeline would pass through 10 Pennsylvania counties from north of Scranton to south of Lancaster. It’s planned to bring gas from the Marcellus shale region in northeastern Pennsylvania to states to the south as well as to the liquefied natural gas export terminal in the Chesapeake Bay at Cove Point, MD.
“DEP undertook a thorough review of these permit applications, and factored in thousands of comments from Pennsylvania residents,” DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell said in a statement. “DEP’s technical staff reviewed the comments in evaluating the revised plans and final permit conditions that must be met throughout the construction process of this pipeline.”