The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality rejected plans presented by Duke Energy for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Now in its third year of planning, the $5 billion, 600-mile underground pipeline would bring natural gas fracked in the Marcellus Shale of West Virginia as far south as Georgia, passing through eight North Carolina counties. Other partners in the original application were Dominion Energy, Southern Energy, and Piedmont Natural Gas, the latter being purchased by Duke last year. The Department of Environmental Quality dismissed plans as failing to meet state standards for erosion control. Duke is treating the rejection as a typical request for more information, which it intends to file in a resubmission under the fifteen-day deadline. Duke is still awaiting the results of an assessment of necessity from the Federal Energy Regulation Commission. Environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, The Nature Conservancy, and Clean Water North Carolina, continue to oppose the project.