- The Associated Press last week reported on an audio recording from inside an energy conference that includes a Dominion Energy official telling attendees that "everybody knows" the company's Atlantic Coast Pipeline will not end in North Carolina — despite public plans that say otherwise.
- FERC gave the project a favorable environmental review over the summer. The pipeline would carry fracked natural gas from West Virginia into North Carolina and Virginia, and would cost up to $5 billion.
- A Dominion official later told the AP that no final decision has been made on whether to expand the pipeline.
According to AP, Dominion Energy Vice President Dan Weekly told attendees of a recent energy conference that “even though it dead-ends at Lumberton (North Carolina) — of course, 12 miles (19 kilometers) to the border — everybody knows it’s not going to end in Lumberton."
But it's not clear just how much of a secret this was: AP also reported several business groups they contacted, including the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, confirmed they had discussed the pipeline with Dominion.
The Sierra Club said the audio is proof energy companies do not tell the public the truth when they are proposing new projects.
Kelly Martin, director of the Beyond Dirty Fuels campaign for the Sierra Club, said in a statement that "Dominion’s comments to industry insiders confirm what we have suspected all along - the polluters behind these fracked gas pipelines tell each other one thing and tell the public another."
In mid-September, North Carolina lawmakers delayed a decision on the pipeline after the state received thousands of negative comments about the proposal. North Carolina's Division of Water Resources (DWR) issued a Request for Additional Information, telling developers that "more site-specific detail is necessary to ensure downstream water quality is protected." The letter also criticized the project for a lack of specificity when it came to some water quality mitigation measures.
A decision was due last month, but after requesting more information, the DWR gave developers 30 days to provide additional information and 60 days for the state to assess it. A decision on the pipeline's fate is unlikely before the middle of December.