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Clarksville gets a piece of the pipeline action

South Boston News
The vacated and razed Burlington site. / March 02, 2016
For the next three years, at least, the property that once housed Burlington Industries in Clarksville will become a storage facility for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) project.

While the pipeline route does not include Mecklenburg County, the size of the property, its access to a rail line and the proximity to counties through which the line will travel, made the Burlington property an ideal storage site for the pipe used to construct the ACP, according to Dominion officials.

Charlie Simmons, who heads the Economic Development Authority (EDA) for Clarksville, confirmed that Dominion has signed a three-year lease on the Burlington site and an additional property, the Kinderton Distribution Center warehouse at the corner of Iron Gate Road and Burlington Drive.

Dominion, one of the nation’s largest producers and transporters of energy, has leased the site and the former Basic Sportswear warehouse on Burlington Drive to store the 42-inch pipes and fittings that will be used in the construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) is being developed by Dominion Resources along with AGL Resources, Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural gas. It is a 554-mile interstate natural gas pipeline, running from West Virginia to South Carolina that will serve multiple public utilities’ energy needs in Virginia and North Carolina.

The main line is proposed to run through ten counties in Virginia: Highland, Bath, Augusta, Nelson, Buckingham, Prince Edward, Nottoway, Dinwiddie, Greensville and Brunswick. A lateral line beginning in Northampton County, N.C. will run to the Hampton Roads area of Virginia through Southampton and Suffolk counties, ending in Chesapeake.

The natural gas transported by this project will be used to generate electricity as well as to heat homes and run local businesses. The capacity would be 1.5 billion cubic feet per day. The ACP would be an “open access” pipeline, with taps possible for larger customers along the route.

Buckingham Branch Railroad out of Dillwyn has been hired to replace the railroad spur that once connected the Burlington property to the main Norfolk and Southern Railroad line through Clarksville. That work has already begun.

Steve Powell, president of Buckingham Branch Railroad, said the company is rehabilitating 2,000 feet of railroad line on the Burlington Property and an additional half mile of line, which they lease from Norfolk and Southern. He expects to complete work on the spur by May 1.

At the same time, the company is upgrading the northern end of the line, which runs from Burkeville to the North Carolina border through Clarksville. “We are investing in the line with a view to bringing industrial development to the area along the route,” including Mecklenburg County, said Powell.

Buckingham Branch is a Class III short-line railroad – a local railroad that serves a small number of towns and industries or hauling cars for one or more larger railroads - operating 275 miles of historic tracks in Central Virginia.

Dominion is still waiting for FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) approval to its planned route for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Last month the company submitted a newly adopted alternate route through the national forests, avoiding both Cheat and Shenandoah Mountains, to satisfy the Forest Service’s requirements. The route reduces the total mileage in the national forests by more than one-third, from 28.8 miles to 18.5 miles.

The company anticipates receiving a certificate of approval from FERC later this year, and plans to begin construction of the pipeline in 2017.

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