You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Dominion, Duke propose $5b natural gas pipeline

NEW YORK — Dominion Resources, Duke Energy, and other partners are proposing a $5 billion natural gas pipeline to connect the Southeast with the prodigious supplies of natural gas being produced in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia.

Gas is being relied upon to generate more of the nation’s electricity in recent years because enormous new domestic supplies have drastically lowered its price and because natural gas burns cleaner than the nation’s other most important fuel for electric power, coal.

Continue reading below

The 550-mile project, called the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, would begin in Harrison County, West Virginia, and stretch through Virginia and North Carolina to Robeson County, near the South Carolina border. It’s designed to tap the rapidly growing supplies of gas produced in two geologic formations, known as the Marcellus and Utica shales, that are now accounting for more than a quarter of the nation’s natural gas. In the past, the Southeast has received nearly all of its gas from more traditional gas-producing states of Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma.

Utilities prefer having diverse sources of fuel to reduce shortages and price spikes that can arise in times of high demand. Also, demand for natural gas for electric power, heating, and manufacturing is expected to continue to rise.

Clean air and clean water regulations — some already approved and some in the process of being finalized — are expected to make burning coal more difficult and expensive in the future. In response, utilities are preparing for increased use of natural gas.

‘‘We’ve retired half of our coal fleet for the last 5 years, and certainly that will continue,’’ said Duke Energy chief executive Lynn Good in an interview Tuesday. ‘‘We see natural gas as an important part of the electricity generation mix for many decades to come.’’

Burning natural gas emits almost none of the toxic chemicals and particulate matter that burning coal produces, and about half of carbon dioxide, which scientists say is responsible for climate change.

Natural gas does have its own environmental drawbacks, however. When the gas leaks or is otherwise released directly into the atmosphere it heats the planet much faster than carbon dioxide. And the drilling technique that has led to increased US supplies, called fracking, has raised concerns about water use, water contamination, and other issues.

The pipeline is already sparking some protest along parts of its proposed route from landowners who worry that the pipeline could reduce property values, threaten water supplies, and keep tourists away.

‘‘It’s a dark day for the Shenandoah Valley and our part of the country,’’ said Nancy Sorrells, co-chair of the anti-pipeline group Augusta County Alliance of Tuesday’s announcement.

Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.