Developers are asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to give final approval by the end of this month to the controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
The developers, including Duke Energy, asked the commission to grant the permit in a letter sent last week. FERC can do so now because enough members of the commission have been appointed by the Trump Administration, and confirmed by Congress.
The 600-mile-long Atlantic Coast Pipeline would bring natural gas from the hydraulic fracturing facilities in West Virginia, through Virginia, and run closely along I-95 in North Carolina to Robeson County.
Developers say it meets a need for natural gas and will boost the economy. Environmental groups say it will pollute waterways and destroy ridgelines, while some landowners argue they are not being fairly compensated.
If FERC does grant the permit, developers hope to begin clearing land in November.