Dominion's mitigation plan for Surry-Skiffes Creek transmission line continues

The Army Corps of Engineers approved $26.2 million in shoreline stabilization and other projects under the conservation fund’s direction as part of a $90 million project to mitigate effects of Dominion Energy’s construction of a high-voltage transmission line across the James River.

The Corps, Dominion and state and federal preservation organizations agreed to the mitigation plan last spring to counteract the $325 million project’s effects on the environment and historic properties. Not all mitigation projects have started yet, Dominion spokeswoman Bonita Harris said.

The Corps’ approval of the conservation fund’s projects allows Preservation Virginia, operating under the conservation fund’s guidance, to begin implementation of approved projects, Harris said.

“Our organization’s position is that this project never should have happened,” Preservation Virginia CEO Elizabeth Kostelny said. The Corps alerted Preservation Virginia of the approval Wednesday.

“We believe the funds don’t make up for the harm done by the project,” she said.

Dominion provided funds to a variety of organizations. The mitigation package comes as part of the controversial project preservation organizations have said threatens historic landmarks, including Historic Jamestowne. The Corps issued a permit to allow Dominion to build the transmission lines across the James River in July.

Construction on the towers’ foundations is almost done and construction of the towers is expected to begin this spring. The project, which includes a switching station in James City County, is expected to be completed in summer 2019, Harris said.

In addition to shoreline stabilization, money in the conservation fund will be directed to projects to preserve Historic Jamestowne, Jamestown Island and the Colonial Parkway.

The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation received $25 million for projects to improve the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail.

Dominion provided $15.6 million to the Virginia Environmental Endowment for water quality improvements in the project area. The Virginia Land Conservation Foundation received $12.5 million for land conservation and open-space easement projects in the project area, Harris said.

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries received $4.2 million to enhance natural resources and historic interpretation at Hog Island and Chickahominy wildlife management areas.

Local Indian tribes also benefit from the mitigation package. The Chicakhominy Indian Tribe received $1.5 million to expand and operate its cultural center, preserve historic documents and artifacts and conduct research. The Pamunkey Indian Tribe received $4.5 million to expand and operate its cultural center, create a historic preservation office and operate the tribe’s shad hatchery, Harris said.

Jacobs can be reached by phone at 757-298-6007.

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