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Pipeline work pauses for bird nesting season


Rocky Mount Telegram

Friday, June 22, 2018

ROCKY MOUNT — Workers on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline are taking a break from tree cutting along the route due to bird nesting season.

The 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline being built by Duke Progress Energy and Dominion Energy Transmission that will run through Nash County will transport natural gas from West Virginia to North Carolina.

Trees are mostly downed in the pipeline path and no additional cutting will be done until September or October, when birds are done nesting for the year, said Vince Wyche, the project's construction-to-community liaison.

The work stoppage is meant to mitigate potential impacts on migratory birds, including bald and golden eagles, consistent with the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

“A variety of migratory bird species could be present seasonally along the proposed pipeline route,” the plan states. “The Projects will be located in the Atlantic Flyway, which is a major migratory route for birds during both spring and fall. A variety of migratory bird species, including both songbirds and raptors, use vegetation communities like those identified along the proposed pipeline route as part of their migratory route.”

Such birds include wood thrush, canvasback, American black duck, mallard, ruby-throated hummingbird, white-eyed vireo, summer tanager, hooded warbler, broad-winged hawk, common tern, black-throated blue warbler and cerulean warbler.

Early next month, tree removal from the pipeline path will start in Northampton County at the Compressor Station and move south into Halifax and Nash counties. Preparation work will begin at that time for laying pipeline along the path.

Wyche's expectation is that all construction in Nash County should be complete by the end of summer 2019.

Nash County’s permits for the pipeline are limited to floodplain permits at stream crossings with regulatory floodplain, zoning permits for valve sites within the pipeline's path and stormwater permits for access to points along the pipeline route, said Nash County Planning Director Nancy Nixon.

“A temporary construction laydown area request is being reviewed in the northern part of the county,” Nixon said. “Planning staff will schedule a preconstruction meeting prior to (pipeline) crews drilling in Nash County at streams where floodplain crossings occur.”

Other environmental and construction permits for the pipeline have been considered at state and federal levels.

Nixon is still looking into questions about temporary housing for pipeline installers who bring RVs during construction activity and move along the path as construction proceeds. The county has received several inquiries from different landowners for temporary housing arrangements for 18 months maximum.

The Nash County Unified Development Ordinance does not provide for temporary housing opportunities, such as in emergency conditions like in a FEMA-declared disaster, a temporary medical/physical hardship or construction of a home on the same lot.