The Exponent Telegram
by John Miller
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s draft environmental impact study on the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline and Supply Header Project can only be viewed as good news by those who favor the project.
The study released Friday basically supports lead investor Dominion’s stance that it is working to mitigate any serious environmental concerns and that the economic benefits outweigh any potential risks involved.
The FERC report says the $5.1 billion pipeline would provide local governments with nearly $60 million in additional property taxes over an eight-year period.
Dominion has also said thousands of construction jobs would be created and The Exponent Telegram is being told that when approved, the pipeline will create one of the biggest infrastructure projects undertaken since the days of the PWA and Civilian Conservation Corps.
Work camps will be established along the pipeline route, with hundreds of workers involved in the 24-hour-a-day construction operation, officials have said.
The report concurs that thousands of construction jobs will be created and indicates that “Atlantic and (Dominion) would purchase goods, materials and services locally when possible. Workers on both projects would also most likely spend a portion of their pay in local communities on items such as housing, food, automobile expenses, entertainment and miscellaneous other items.”
The report further states: “During construction, ACP and SHP would benefit the state and local economies by creating a short-term stimulus to the affected areas through payroll expenditures, local purchases of consumables and project-specific materials and sales tax. Operation of the projects would result in long-term tax benefits for counties crossed.”
The local counties that could benefit from these projects are Harrison, Lewis, Upshur and Randolph (on the ACP) and Harrison, Doddridge, Tyler and Wetzel (on the SHP).
As we’ve stated in the past, the Supply Header Project and Atlantic Coast Pipeline, if designed, built and implemented correctly, would provide a huge economic boost to the region and the state.
The draft report supports that claim and also is clear that regulators believe Dominion and its partners, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas and Southern Company Gas, have a plan in place that provides as much protection to the environment as possible.
Opponents obviously feel differently. And they still have opportunities to voice their concerns, as the public comment period is open until April 6.
As we’ve stated in the past, clean-burning natural gas is a viable alternative to other less-clean natural resources and can help power this great country for hundreds of years.
That’s why the pipeline projects make sense. The additional jobs, tax revenue and other positive developments that could take place if the projects are built are added bonuses that, to us, make the pipelines a must.