Atlantic Coast Pipeline partners, seeking to build on holdout properties, file court motion

These court motions ask the federal court to grant the Atlantic Coast Pipeline partners immediate entry onto private property even if those landowners haven't reached an agreement with the pipeline.

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — There’s a new push to speed up the controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) moving into Hampton Roads.

This development comes in the form of federal court filings, which ask the federal court to grant the Atlantic Coast Pipeline partners immediate entry onto private property through easements, even if those holdout landowners haven’t reached an agreement with the pipeline.

“The ACP wants the court to say they have the power of eminent domain, and second that they are entitled to a preliminary injunction that would mean the property owners can’t stop them from coming on the properties, clearing trees, clearing the right of way, trenching and installing gas transmission lines,” said Steve Clarke, an attorney who represents landowners who have refused to settle with the ACP,

Dominion Energy says that approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval gave them a green light for the 600-mile pipeline, even though they don’t have all the permits yet.

Clarke says Dominion  shouldn’t go onto anyone’s property until all the ACP permits are in hand, something Dominion Energy spokesperson Aaron Ruby disagreed with.

“I understood that, but Andy, we have a different perspective,” Ruby said.

Ruby says the ACP partners have spent three years trying to reach an agreement, and he says everyone will be treated fairly.

“Through cooperation we have reached mutual agreement with more than 80 percent of those landowners and all those landowners have been fairly compensated.”

Clarke says money is the motive for the ACP filing motions. “They want to begin construction on this project as quickly as possible,” Clarke said. “They want to get it in service, so they can start flowing gas through the pipeline as quickly as possible, and making money off of it.”