Developers of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline says the National Park Service has approved construction of a tunnel to carry the natural gas 800 feet below the Blue Ridge Parkway. Pipeline officials say both the work itself and the pipeline will not impact parkway use or enjoyment.

Dominion Energy statement: “This week the Atlantic Coast Pipeline received another key regulatory approval from the National Park Service authorizing construction and operation of the pipeline underneath the Blue Ridge Parkway. After more than three years of exhaustive study, this week the National Park Service issued Construction and Right of Way permits for the Blue Ridge Parkway crossing. The agency concluded that the crossing is consistent with the long-term conservation of scenery, wildlife and cultural resources under the agency’s care. The agency’s approval was reached after more than three years of careful study and meaningful engagement with the public and other agencies.

In consultation with the agency, we adopted the most protective crossing method for the Parkway that will completely avoid surface impacts and preserve public view sheds. Using a technique known as a Horizontal Directional Drill (HDD), the pipeline will be installed through a tunnel 800 feet below the Parkway. This ensures that construction and operation of the pipeline will have no impact on the public use or enjoyment of the Parkway.

We’ve always believed it’s important to balance the energy needs of consumers with the preservation of cultural resources. The Park Service’s approval shows that through collaboration with agencies, we can responsibly develop infrastructure while preserving cultural resources for the enjoyment of future generations.”