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Abandoning pipeline plans, for now, is a A business decision

The coalition against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline wasted no time claiming victory over the mighty energy corporations that proposed slicing through 600 miles of forests, communities and countrysides to transport natural gas from the environmentally unsound fracking fields through the heart of Virginia and North Carolina.

While the community organizers and the “No Pipeline” sign makers can certainly enjoy this day, the fact is, this was a business decision for Dominion Energy.

Some key judicial decisions against similar pipelines in other areas, combined with the prospects of a stronger EPA under a potential change to a Democrat administration in 2021, meant the company’s foray into becoming an natural gas transmission company quickly became not the best use of its time and resources.

The company also had 9.7 billion reasons to abandon its natural gas transmission plans as Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway agreed to take Dominion’s current pipelines and natural gas assets off its hands. This leaves Dominion as more of a pure play clean energy company. The company has plans to retire more than 4 gigawatts of coal and oil-fired power generation plants before 2025, all in an effort to lower carbon emission in the production of electricity. That is good news for all of us.

So the Friends of Buckingham can put out a hyperbolic press release saying they put the ACP down on its knees and be somewhat correct, but they should really send a thank you note to Warren Buffet. He and his $9.7 billion gave Dominion a great reason to throw in the towel.

Opponents of the pipeline should also not rest too easy. It will likely be years before energy demand recovers enough for the idea of such a massive pipeline project to make sense again, but Dominion has laid much of the groundwork and still owns the land they purchased for the project. A strong company like Berkshire Hathaway, with current cash reserves of $137 billion, could pick up the ball and run with it again if conditions become more favorable.

(The views in this editorial are of The Farmville Herald editorial staff. This editorial was written by Editor Roger Watson. He can be reached at Editor@FarmvilleHerald.com or (434) 808-0622.)