RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The group of utilities building the Atlantic Coast Pipeline has agreed to spend nearly $58 million on environmental mitigation efforts in Virginia.

A memorandum of agreement outlining the payments was signed several weeks ago by former natural resources secretary Molly Ward and Leslie Hartz, an executive with lead pipeline developer Dominion Energy.

The agreement says the money is to mitigate forest fragmentation and related impacts on water quality related to construction of the 600 mile-long pipeline.

The proposed natural gas pipeline, which has received many of its key permits, will start in West Virginia and run through Virginia and North Carolina.

Gov. Ralph Northam's spokesman, Brian Coy, says the agreement is a good deal for taxpayers.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper recently announced a similarly sized fund for environmental initiatives.