- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 13, 2017

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Clergy members plan to pray outside the office of the North Carolina government agency that will decide whether to issue a permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

The Rev. Mac Legerton of the United Church of Christ in Robeson County says in a news release that lay people will join the clergy who oppose the pipeline when they pray for one hour Wednesday outside the state Department of Environmental Quality.

Department officials are scheduled to announce Sept. 19 whether they will issue the permit for the 600-mile (966-kilometer) pipeline, which would carry natural gas across West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina.

Executives with Dominion Energy, Duke Energy and Southern Company Gas have asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to issue final approval this month so construction can begin in November.

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