NAO-2022-0650 (Columbia Gas Virginia Reliability Project, Virginia

Published March 1, 2023
Expiration date: 3/31/2023

March 1, 2023    


The District Commander has received a joint permit application for Federal and State permits as described below:

Ms. Melissa Dettling
Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC
700 Louisiana Street
Houston, Texas 77002

PROJECT LOCATION:  The western extent starts southwest of the intersection of Shingleton Road (SR 613), and Wheeler Lane in Surry County and the eastern extent ends west of the intersection of George Washington Highway North and Trade Street in the City of Chesapeake, Virginia.

PROJECT SIZE: 807 acres

NEAREST WATERWAY: Multiple tributaries of the Blackwater River, Dismal Swamp Canal, Lake Drummond, Nansemond River, Elizabeth River, and the Meherrin River.

LATITUDE AND LONGITUDE: Western extent 37.0347, -77.0079, Eastern extent 36.7651, -76.3458

PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND PURPOSE:  The proposed project includes replacement of approximately 49.2 miles of existing, 12-in-diameter pipelines with 24-inch diameter pipelines mostly within Columbia Gas’s existing right-of-way in Surry, Sussex, Southampton, and Isle of Wight Counties, as well as the Cities of Suffolk and Chesapeake, Virginia for the purpose of meeting future energy demands and increasing the reliability and safety of service. The proposed project includes permanent impacts to 0.05 acres of palustrine emergent wetlands (PEM), 0.03 acres of palustrine forested wetlands (PFO), 0.08 acres of estuarine emergent wetlands (E2EM), conversion of 2.19 acres of palustrine scrub shrub wetlands (PSS) to PEM wetlands, conversion of 16.72 acres of PFO to PEM wetlands, conversion of 0.02 acres of estuarine scrub shrub wetlands (E2SS) to E2EM wetlands, conversion of approximately 0.01 acres of estuarine forested wetlands (E2FO) to E2EM wetlands and impacts to 71 linear feet of stream channel. The proposed project includes temporary impacts to 38.38 acres of PEM wetlands, 9.69 acres of PSS wetlands, 74.40 acres of PFO wetlands, 1.72 acres of E2EM wetlands, 0.24 acres of E2SS wetlands and 0.17 acres of E2FO wetlands for a total of 0.16 acres of permanent wetland impacts, a total of 18.94 acres of conversion wetland impacts, a total of 122.47 acres of temporary wetland impacts and a total of 71 linear feet of stream impacts.

Sections 401 and 404 of the Clean Water Act (Public Law 95-217) and Title 62.1 of the Code of Virginia wetland impact summary:

The new 24-inch pipeline will be horizontally directionally drilled under six waters regulated under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899.

Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. 403):

AVOIDANCE AND MINIMIZATION:  The applicant demonstrated avoidance and minimization by horizontal directional drilling the new line under all section 10 waterways and placing the replacement line in existing utility right-of-of way.

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: Compensation for unavoidable permanent stream impacts will be accomplished by purchasing 71 stream credits from an approved stream mitigation bank.  Compensation for unavoidable wetland impacts will be accomplished by the purchase of 0.06 wetland credits for impacts to PFO wetlands, 0.13 wetland credits for impacts to PEM wetlands, and 18.94 wetland credits for conversion impacts to wetlands converting from PFO/PSS/E2SS/E2FO to PEM/E2EM for a total of 19.13 wetland credits to be purchased at an approved wetland mitigation bank based on the following ratios:

In addition, the applicant must obtain an Individual Section 401 Water Quality Certification or waiver from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) assuring that applicable laws and regulations pertaining to water quality are not violated.  

The applicant must obtain a permit from the Chesapeake Wetlands Board.

A copy of the joint permit application can be found on the Virginia Marine Resources Commission’s website (click here).


(X)       Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. 403).

(X)       Sections 401 and 404 of the Clean Water Act (Public Law 95-217) and Title 62.1 of the Code of Virginia.

( )        Section 103 of the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act of 1972  (33 U.S.C. 1413).

FEDERAL EVALUATION OF APPLICATION:  The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impact including cumulative impacts of the proposed activity on the public interest.  The decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources.  The benefits which reasonably may be expected from the proposal must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments.  All of the proposal's relevant factors will be considered, including conservation, economics, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, cultural values, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, flood plain values, land use, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food and fiber production, mineral needs, consideration of property ownership and, in general, the needs and welfare of the people.  The Environmental Protection Agency's "Guidelines for Specification of Disposal Sites for Dredged or Fill Material" will also be applied (Section 404(b)(1) of the Clean Water Act).

The Corps of Engineers is soliciting comments from the public, federal, state, and local agencies and officials; Indian Tribes; and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of this proposed activity.  Any comments received will be considered by the Corps of Engineers to determine whether to issue, modify, condition, or deny a permit for this proposal.  To make this decision, comments are used to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and the other public interest factors listed above.  Comments are used in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment and/or an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act.  Preliminary review of the application indicates that no EIS will be required.

Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed activity.  Anyone may request a public hearing to consider this permit application by writing to the District Commander within 30 days of the date of this notice, stating specific reasons for holding the public hearing.  The District Commander will then decide if a hearing should be held.

ENDANGERED SPECIES: After conducting the Norfolk District Endangered Species Act (ESA) Project Review Process, the Corps has made the preliminary determination that:

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is the lead federal agency and is responsible for this coordination. Docket Number PF22-3-000.


The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is the lead federal agency and is responsible for this coordination. Docket Number PF22-3-000.

ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT: The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, as amended by the Sustainable Fisheries Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-267), requires all Federal agencies to consult with the NMFS on all actions, or proposed actions, permitted, funded, or undertaken by the agency, that may adversely affect Essential Fish Habitat (EFH).

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is the lead federal agency and is responsible for this coordination. Docket Number PF22-3-000.

VIRGINIA’S COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM: For compliance with the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended for projects located in Virginia’s Coastal Zone, the applicant must certify that federally licensed or permitted activities affecting Virginia's coastal uses or resources will be conducted in a manner consistent with the Virginia’s Coastal Zone Management Program (Virginia CZM Program), and obtain concurrence from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Office of Environmental Impact Review (OEIR). It is the applicant’s responsibility to submit a consistency certification to the OEIR for concurrence or objection, and proof of concurrence must be submitted to the Corps prior to final permit issuance. A template federal consistency certification can be found in the Federal Consistency Manual here: .  For more information or to obtain a list of the enforceable policies of the Virginia CZM Program, contact the DEQ-OEIR at (804) 659-1915 or e-mail:

The applicant has not submitted concurrence.

VIRGINIA’S SECTION 401 WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION PROGRAM: The Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 401 Certification Rule (Certification Rule, 40 CFR 121), effective September 11, 2020, requires certification, or waiver, for any license or permit that authorizes an activity that may result in a discharge. The scope of a CWA Section 401 certification is limited to ensuring that a discharge from a Federally licensed or permitted activity will comply with water quality requirements. To comply with the Virginia Section 401 Water Quality Certification Program and the Certification Rule, the applicant is responsible for adhering to the procedures outlined in the Certification Rule when requesting certification from the certifying authority, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. In accordance with Certification Rule part 121.12, the Corps will notify the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator when it has received a Department of the Army (DA) permit application and the related certification. The Administrator is responsible for determining whether the discharge may affect water quality in a neighboring jurisdiction. The DA permit may not be issued pending the conclusion of the Administrator’s determination of effects on neighboring jurisdictions.

COMMENT PERIOD:  Comments on this project should be in writing and can be sent by either email to, or by regular mail, addressed to the Norfolk District, Corps of Engineers (ATTN:  CENAO-WRR), 803 Front Street, Norfolk, VA  23510-1011, and should be received by the close of business on March 31, 2023.

PRIVACY AND 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 about this project or the permit process, contact Ms. Julie Hamilton by email at or by phone at (804) 436-4725.