RICHMOND, Va. — Opponents of a proposed natural gas pipeline across the Blue Ridge Mountains lost a legislative battle Monday.

Environmentalists and property owners in the path of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline were seeking repeal of a 2004 state law that allows interstate natural gas companies to do testing and surveying on private property without the consent of the owner.

Richmond-based Dominion Resources is joining other utilities to build the $5 billion, 550-mile pipeline.

State Sen. Emmett Hanger's bill to repeal the 2004 law died for lack of a motion in the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee.

Hanger, an Augusta County Republican, said he supports energy development but believes the current law tramples private property rights.

Pipeline supporters said legislation would be unwise because of pending litigation over the issue.