FILE - In this Feb. 20, 2020 file photo, Del. Lee Ware, R-Powhatan, left, talks with Del. Terry Kilgore, R-Scott, during the…
In this Feb. 20, 2020 file photo, Del. Lee Ware, R-Powhatan, left, talks with Del. Terry Kilgore, R-Scott, during the House session at the Capitol in Richmond, Va. Ware is discussing a pipeline project related bill.

Two U.S. energy companies announced Sunday they have canceled a planned natural gas pipeline project that faced opposition from landowners, activists and environmental advocates. 

Dominion Energy and Duke Energy said in a statement, “A series of legal challenges to the project's federal and state permits has caused significant project cost increases and timing delays.” 

The pipeline was meant to run from the state of West Virginia and carry natural gas to customers in neighboring Virginia and in North Carolina. 

The companies said it would both lower costs for consumers and allow the retirement of coal power plants. 

But opponents said the project would harm wildlife and the environment with construction leveling trees and some ridge tops, and with the pipeline going under the Appalachian Trail that is popular with hikers. 

Delays in obtaining necessary permits had already ballooned the cost from its original estimate of $4.5 billion to $8 billion.  First announced in 2014, the project was also years behind schedule.