Detailing the Virginia Reliability Project

Published 6:06 pm Tuesday, November 7, 2023

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The Virginia Reliability Project has seen much discussion due to concerns over pipeline placement. 

The 48-mile pipeline project proposed by Columbia Gas Transmission and TC Energy would replace two current segments of the TCO pipeline system to “continue reliable and abundant natural gas supply,” according to TC Energy’s official website. The project is planned to be routed through the Hampton Roads and Southeast areas of Virginia, including the cities of Suffolk and Chesapeake, as well as Isle of Wight, Surry, Sussex and Southampton counties. 

Members of the nonprofit organization Chesapeake Climate Action Network have opposed the project. During a Chesapeake public comment session held by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Wednesday, April 26, CCAN Hampton Roads organizer Charles Brown II expressed the group’s goal of bringing awareness regarding the project.

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“We feel like just getting the information, they’ll understand that this is a dangerous project that can affect communities, students, schools, the Great Dismal Swamp, the veteran’s cemetery in Suffolk, Nansemond tribe … and we don’t want it to happen,” Brown said. “It’s methane gas. That’s nothing to play or to take lightly.”

However, Department of Veterans Services of the Commonwealth of Virginia Director of Communications Tina Parlett-Calhoun says the pipeline will not be placed underneath the cemetery while detailing the Columbia Gas easement. 

“The Columbia Gas easement existed before the Commonwealth purchased land for the Albert G. Horton, Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery and conveyed when the property was purchased by the state to construct a cemetery. In developing our cemetery master plan, we were careful to account for the easement. No grave sites or structures will be built in the easement,” Parlett-Calhoun said. “As part of the Virginia Reliability Project, the existing 12” pipeline will be replaced by a 24” pipeline. No grave sites, current or planned, will be disturbed as a result of this project.”

 Austin Staton, Spokesperson for TC Energy, also provided a statement on the concern.

“The VRP, including the existing pipeline system, is a significant distance from a Veterans Cemetery, and no graves will be disturbed in the construction of this project,” Station said. “The pipeline system predates the cemetery. TC Energy believes in being a good neighbor, and that includes honoring the final resting place of our veterans. Dating back to 2022, the VRP project team has engaged with cemetery management to ensure that construction impacts will be minimized to the greatest extent feasible for the property.”

Construction for the project is planned for the second quarter of 2024, with a projected in-service date of Nov. 1, 2025.

For more information on VRP, go to

Editor’s note: Updated fifth passage at 1:40 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 8 to reflect correct spelling.