Pipeline meeting set

Published 6:02 pm Saturday, February 11, 2017

A public meeting is set in Suffolk this week to receive comment on the environmental aspects of a new gas pipeline set to come through the city.

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a 550-mile-long, $4.5-billion project from Harrison County, W.Va., to Robeson County, N.C., with a spur coming east from the Virginia/North Carolina state line through Hampton Roads.

A draft environmental impact statement for the pipeline has been prepared by the staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Staff has concluded that the projects “would have some adverse and significant environmental impacts,” according to the notice of availability of the statement, but it says the majority of the impacts would be reduced to “less-than-significant levels” with the implementation of proposed mitigation.

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The meeting this week will be held Thursday at the Hilton Garden Inn, 100 E. Constance Road.

Tamara Young-Allen with FERC’s Division of Media Relations said the meeting, which is one of 10 being held along the pipeline’s route, is an indication of the commission’s efforts to get public comment.

“All we need to do is allow for public comment, but we’re not mandated to do it the way that we do,” she said. “I think that’s an indication of our efforts to try to reach out to the public.”

She said the commission is tasked only with environmental concerns, so comments regarding the project’s environmental impacts will be most useful to the commission.

The comment session will last from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Commission staff will hand out numbers in the order of citizens’ arrival. Number distribution will be discontinued at 8 p.m.

All individual verbal comments will be taken on a one-on-one basis with a court reporter. A time limit of three minutes per commenter may be imposed if there are many people waiting to provide comment. Verbal comments will be recorded, and transcripts will be placed into the dockets for the projects.

“We’ve really been pleased with the one-on-one format,” Young-Allen said. “It allows as many people as possible to participate in the process.”

Those unable to attend the meeting can file comments in one of three other ways:

4File comments electronically using the eComment feature on the commission’s website, www.ferc.gov.

4File comments electronically using the eFiling feature on the commission’s website, www.ferc.gov. This feature allows users to attach a file with their submission.

4File a paper copy of comments by mailing them to Nathaniel J. Davis Sr., Deputy Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First St NE, Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426.

The deadline to submit comment in any format is April 6.

For more information, call 866-208-FERC or visit www.ferc.gov.