Press release from Blue Ridge Parkway:
On November 18, 2022, National Park Service (NPS) South Atlantic-Gulf Regional Director Mark Foust signed a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), recommended by Blue Ridge Parkway Superintendent Tracy Swartout, to permit a Right of Way (ROW) for an underground natural gas pipeline within the Blue Ridge Parkway boundary for applicant Dominion Energy North Carolina (DENC). The permit application was evaluated in the 2022 Environmental Assessment (EA) for Dominion Energy NC Application for Right-of-Way (ROW) Milepost 393.3, Buncombe County, NC. The Blue Ridge Parkway has statutory authority (16 U.S.C. § 460a-3) to consider external applications for utility ROW permits across NPS land.
The EA, written in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act, was developed to consider a ROW permit application and evaluated potential impacts to NPS resources from issuing a permit to install, operate, and maintain the proposed 12-inch natural gas pipeline. Public comments from traditionally associated tribes, stakeholders, residents, and the public were received during a 30-day public comment period and used in preparation of the FONSI.
Comments received addressed impacts to water resources, greenhouse gas emissions, safety, placement of a pipeline within NPS lands, and consistency with NPS mission of permitting a utility ROW. Substantive comments are addressed in the appendix to the FONSI, and comments related to the larger utility project beyond the permit on NPS land were beyond the scope of the EA.
The EA, FONSI and other reference documents can be found on the NPS Planning Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/DominionT2ROWBuncombe