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Project Category

Integrated Environmental Science

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Presentation

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Wetland mitigation banking is a familiar topic in Virginia, especially with the introduction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The proposed pipeline, which extends from West Virginia to North Carolina, impacts nearly 315 acres of wetlands in Virginia alone. Under current Virginia law, wetlands are to be undisturbed by any destruction-related actions. The pipeline, however, has raised many questions as to why the State is making certain exceptions for a natural gas pipeline. There is a gap between society’s demand for natural gas and the negative environmental impacts the pipeline brings. Environmental justice is also a concern, when groups of people resist placing compressor stations in their communities (e.g. Buckingham County). The wetlands that will see the largest impact is the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, with 22 proposed wetland crossings that will impact 75.9 acres of wetlands. This paper examines how the pipeline is able to disturb wetlands that are deemed ‘untouchable’. The proposed pipeline also comes within 100 feet of wildlife boundaries. Additionally, 13 forested wetlands will be crossed resulting in 21.7 acres of permanent conversion to scrub-shrub or herbaceous wetlands. In preparing plans and scoping areas the natural gas pipeline can pass through, many wetlands and other nationally protected areas are being disturbed and we examine whether the potential benefits outweigh the negatives.

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ENSC 402: The Atlantic Coast Pipeline: Effects on Wetlands in Virginia

Wetland mitigation banking is a familiar topic in Virginia, especially with the introduction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The proposed pipeline, which extends from West Virginia to North Carolina, impacts nearly 315 acres of wetlands in Virginia alone. Under current Virginia law, wetlands are to be undisturbed by any destruction-related actions. The pipeline, however, has raised many questions as to why the State is making certain exceptions for a natural gas pipeline. There is a gap between society’s demand for natural gas and the negative environmental impacts the pipeline brings. Environmental justice is also a concern, when groups of people resist placing compressor stations in their communities (e.g. Buckingham County). The wetlands that will see the largest impact is the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, with 22 proposed wetland crossings that will impact 75.9 acres of wetlands. This paper examines how the pipeline is able to disturb wetlands that are deemed ‘untouchable’. The proposed pipeline also comes within 100 feet of wildlife boundaries. Additionally, 13 forested wetlands will be crossed resulting in 21.7 acres of permanent conversion to scrub-shrub or herbaceous wetlands. In preparing plans and scoping areas the natural gas pipeline can pass through, many wetlands and other nationally protected areas are being disturbed and we examine whether the potential benefits outweigh the negatives.