McAuliffe’s Gift to Dominion on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline

This article, from Blue Virginia, is really important for pipeline opponents. It discusses a secret deal engineered by then-Governor McAuliffe, that exempts Dominion from any liability from building and operating the Atlantic Coast Pipeline beyond the $57,850,000 paid into a fund managed by government and private entities. McAuliffe committed the state to a secret Memorandum of Understanding with Dominion and its pipeline partners. The agreement was signed on December 28, 2017, apparently without any public disclosure, by outgoing Secretary of Natural Resources Molly Ward. This agreement removes Dominion from any liabilities in case of water pollution, forest damage, pipeline explosions, or any damage caused by the pipelines, beyond what is left in the fund. This $58M fund will be billed back to ratepayers.

This is a very telling statement in the agreement: ““The Commonwealth requests, and Atlantic agrees to pay” the stated amounts – and then discusses how Dominion will get its money back “in the unanticipated event that the Project fails to obtain and maintain State Approvals.”  The key word there is “unanticipated.”  It suggests that Dominion was not just capping its liability but rather trading $58 million for a commitment from McAuliffe that the pipeline would be approved ”

This is similar to the deal signed by North Carolina, also with Dominion, for $57,800,000.

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