Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Published Nov. 30, 2020
Expiration date: 1/11/2021

**The information below is the official public notice. The links to accompany this notice are found at the bottom of the page. Due to current COVID-19 measures, please attempt to open the digital documents before emailing the Norfolk District librarian to request viewing the physical documents.**

November 30, 2020
CENAO-WRR NAO-2012-00080


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), along with the help of its One Federal Decision Cooperating Agencies, has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Virginia Electric Power Company (Dominion) proposal known as Surry – Skiffes Creek – Whealton Aerial Transmission Line “Project”.

Virginia Electric & Power Company
c/o: Dominion Energy Mr. Robert M. Blue; President & CEO
701 E. Cary Street; 12th Floor
Richmond, Virginia 23219

WATERWAY AND LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK: The Project begins in Surry County near Surry Nuclear Power Plant, crosses the James River towards Skiffes Creek in James City County, and continues through Newport News, York County, and Hampton to an existing substation in Whealton. The Project is located within the Lower James River and Lynnhaven-Poquoson watersheds; specifically, the James River, Skiffes Creek, Lee-Hall Reservoir, Harwood’s Mill Reservoir, Woods Creek, Jones Run, Brick Kiln Creek, Newmarket Creek and Whiteman Swamp. Hydrologic Unit Codes 02080206 & 02080108.

PROPOSED PROJECT: Construct 17 in-stream transmission towers and fender protection systems to support a 500 kiloVolt (kV) aerial transmission line over navigable waters and placement of 26 transmission towers in non-tidal wetlands. In total, the Project permanently impacts 2712 square feet (0.06 acres) of subaqueous river bottom, 271 square feet (0.006 acres) of non-tidal wetlands, and converts 0.67 acres of palustrine forested non-tidal wetlands to palustrine scrub shrub non-tidal wetlands.

PROJECT PURPOSE & NEED: Provide sustainable electrical transmission capacity into and/or non-fossil generation capacity within the North Hampton Roads Load Area sufficient to meet North American Electric Reliability Corporation reliability standards in compliance with state and Federal regulations, including Mercury Air Toxic Standards and the Virginia Clean Energy Act.

PROJECT HISTORY: In July 2017, the Corps issued an Individual Permit for the Project under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act, followed by subsequent minor permit modifications on August 22, 2017 and January 2, 2018. Among other conditions, the permit was issued subject to compliance with a 2017 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) executed by the Corps; Dominion; and the Acting Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior [on behalf of the National Park Service (NPS)], among other parties. The MOA, developed through the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) Section 106 consultation process, contained stipulations to avoid, minimize, and mitigate impacts to historic properties in proximity to the Project.

Dominion proceeded with construction of the Project pursuant to the Corps permit and its conditions, including the conditions set forth in the MOA. The Project was electrically energized on February 26, 2019.

The Corps permit was challenged in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, which awarded summary judgement to the Corps and upheld the permit decision. That decision was appealed. In National Parks Conservation Association vs. Semonite, No. 18-5179, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit remanded this action to the District Court with instructions to direct the Corps to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

AUTHORITY: Permits are required pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. 403), Sections 401 and 404 of the Clean Water Act (Public Law 95-217) and Title 62.1 of the Code of Virginia for impacts to jurisdictional wetlands and waters of the United States.

PUBLIC NOTIFICATION: This public notice serves to announce the availability of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Federal, State and Local agencies as well as private individuals, organizations or groups are invited to provide comment for our consideration as we work towards development of a Final EIS. The DEIS is not the decision document. Rather, its purpose it to inform the public and other agencies of potential impacts associated with the Applicant’s proposal. The Corps has analyzed 29 alternatives to the Project in the DEIS. Alternatives consist of other overhead transmission routes, underground transmission routes, and the addition of fossil fuel and/or alternate energy (e.g., solar, wind, and/or battery storage) generation resources and include a “no action” alternative that would not require issuance of a permit by the Corps. If the Project or another action alternative is approved, the Corps would issue a decision and the necessary permit authorizations.

The DEIS is electronically available in the following locations:

For persons who cannot access the DEIS electronically, printed copies for viewing are available at the following libraries:

**By appointment only: Email the librarian at
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk District Library
803 Front Street, Norfolk, VA 23510 757-201-7219

James City County
James City County Library
7770 Croaker Road
Williamsburg, VA 23188
(phone) 757-741-3300

Surry County
Surry County Public Library
270 Colonial Trail East
Surry, VA 23883
(phone) 757-294-3949

Charles City County
Charles City Branch
10790 Courthouse Rd
Charles City, VA 23030
(phone) 804-652-2450

City of Newport News
Main Street Library
110 Main Street
Newport News, VA 23601
(phone) 757-591-4858

City of Hampton Main Library
4207 Victoria Blvd.,
Hampton, VA 23669
(phone) 757-727-1154

COMMENT PERIOD: Comments will be accepted for 45 days, beginning with the publication of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Notice of Availability of the DEIS in the Federal Register. The comment period will close on January 11, 2021. Comments on the DEIS may be submitted by email to, or by regular mail, addressed to:

Norfolk District, Corps of Engineers
803 Front Street
Norfolk, Virginia 23510-1011.

Comments on the DEIS should be as specific as possible. It is also helpful if comments refer to chapters, pages, and line numbers of the DEIS (e.g., Chapter 1, page 1-3, line 10), along with any sources that support your comments. Comments may address the adequacy of specific analyses in the DEIS and the merits of the alternatives formulated and discussed in the document (40 CFR 1503.3). Please note that the preferred alternative may not be the final decision, so it is best to comment on what you like/do not like about each alternative. Additionally, if you identify a new proposed alternative, identify how it would avoid/reduce/mitigate resource impacts better than the alternatives already analyzed in the DEIS. Include in your comments potential mitigation options that could be considered for the Project. Substantive comments (40 CFR 1503.3) will be included in the Final EIS.

PUBLIC HEARING: The Corps intends to hold a virtual public hearing. The logistics of a virtual style hearing are still being worked out. We will announce further details via another public notice once we have established a date and time.

PRIVACY & CONFIDENTIALITY: Comments and information, including the identity of the submitter, submitted in response to this Public Notice may be disclosed, reproduced, and distributed at the discretion of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Information that is submitted in connection with this Public Notice cannot be maintained as confidential by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Submissions should not include any information that the submitter seeks to preserve as confidential. If you have any questions regarding the NEPA process used to prepare the DEIS or need additional information about the Project, please contact Randy L. Steffey, Project Manager at (757) 201-7579, or

Draft EIS {Executive Summary, Table of Contents, Ch 1 – 3}; {Ch 4 – 7}
Appendix A: Public Involvement/Comments {Part 1}; {Part 2}
Appendix B: Description of Alternatives
Appendix C: Dominion’s Alternatives Analysis {Part 1}; {Part 2}; {Part 3}; {Part 4}; {Part 5}; {Part 6}; {Part 7}; {Part 8}; {Part 9}
Appendix D: Cultural Assessment Appendix E: NMFS Consultation after 2017