Dominion Energy continues tree felling for proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline

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YOGAVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Hundreds of trees are falling as Dominion Energy started tree felling over the weekend for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

People who live in Buckingham County were surprised to see the work starting so soon, not even a day after the utility company received approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

"It's a tragic situation," said Kenda Hanuman, a Buckingham County resident.

Hanuman is one of the many people who live in Buckingham County that are against the pipeline.

"We know that they're very eager to proceed since they're behind schedule right now," she said.

The pipeline received a conditional approval from FERC in October, and on Friday, the pipeline received another approval to begin tree felling.

"We've had crews standing by so that they're ready to begin as soon as we received approval from the agency," said Aaron Ruby, a Dominion spokesman.

Ruby said tree felling is different from the actual construction of the pipeline itself. He also said Dominion is not trespassing.

"We're not uprooting the stumps, we're not disturbing the soil or the land, we're not removing the trees from the right of way," said Ruby. "We're only doing this on land where we've reached an agreement with the landowner."

Dominion understands the large opposition to the project but said it will have a big impact on Virginia's economy and workforce.

"It's going to help grow our economy, revitalize our manufacturing sector, lower energy costs by hundreds of millions of dollars," said Ruby. "We're going to hire locally to the greatest extent that we can and hire as many local residents as we can for construction."

Hanuman said the fight to stop the pipeline is not over.

"You have to pay attention now," said Hanuman. "If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention."

Dominion said it will continue cutting the trees through March.

The utility company still has a few more approvals to receive before it construction can officially begin. Construction could begin as early as spring.

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