Duke Energy and Dominion Energy announced Sunday afternoon that they would not continue construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a multi-state, 600-mile, $8 billion project that would have cut across the northeastern part of North Carolina.

The companies said that the cancelation was due to “ongoing delays and increasing cost uncertainty,” despite the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of the project weeks before.

That “uncertainty” included a federal waterways permit recently vacated in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that would have kept the pipeline from crossing over 1,500 waterways, according to the Southern Environmental Law Center. The two corporations said in a statement that this and other legal battles have added significant costs to the project.

The pipeline, which was announced in 2014, would have cut through national forests connected to the Appalachian Trail in West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina. It would have affected eight counties in our state: Halifax, Nash, Wilson, Johnston, Sampson, Cumberland, Robeson, and Northampton.

The pipeline is already partially constructed, although no work has been done since 2018 due to legal battles. The energy corporations have not said what will happen to these abandoned construction sites, which already pose safety risks, thanks to carcinogens released by the epoxy used on pipes.

Frontline communities have been protesting the Atlantic Coast Pipeline since its proposal. Previously, the INDY reported on environmental activist Belinda Joyner and her work to stop the pipeline from cutting through Northampton County and the seven other North Carolina counties that would be affected by the project.

Northampton was ranked close to last in health factors and health outcomes by the University of Wisconsin, based on the environmental, economic, and health factors impacting the county and the results on residents’ health.

“When you’re fighting a conglomerate, such as Duke Energy, Dominion—these people that have a lot of money—sometimes you feel like money will persevere, other than everyday people,” Joyner told the INDY over the phone Sunday. “I thank God for all the groups, this community, and all the organizations and all the groups that came together in this fight. We didn’t give up.”

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