by Robesonian staff
RICHMOND, Va. — The Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC has signed agreements with the nation’s four leading building and construction trade unions, which it says affirms its commitment to hiring skilled union workers for the pipeline’s construction.
According to a press release by Aaron Ruby, a spokesman for Dominion Energy, one of the owners of the pipeline, the agreements are with the Laborers’ International Union of North America, Teamsters National Pipeline, International Union of Operating Engineers and the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States.
“From day one we’ve committed to building this project to the highest standards of quality and safety,” said Leslie Hartz, Dominion Energy’s vice president of Engineering & Construction. “These organizations represent the most highly-skilled and well-trained professionals in the industry. They have the training, dedication and experience we need, and we’re proud to have them on board for this historic project.”
Under the agreements, the four trade unions will be responsible for hiring and training the 13,000 construction workers needed to build the 600-mile pipeline. The unions have committed to hiring at least half of the construction workforce through local union membership in West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. Furthermore, the organizations have committed to hiring at least 25 percent of all new hires — individuals joining the trade unions for the first time — from the local communities where the pipeline will be built.
“This is the biggest job-creating infrastructure project we’ve seen in our region for many decades,” said Dennis Martire, Laborers’ International Union of North America’s vice president & Mid-Atlantic regional manager. “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to rebuild our region’s infrastructure and bring back the middle class jobs that have disappeared from too many of our communities. Our members live in these communities, so we have a personal stake in doing this the right way and with the utmost care for safety and the environment. We have the skills and the work ethic that it takes to build a project like this, and we’re just grateful for the opportunity to put those skills to work for our economy and our energy security.”
The $5 billion pipeline will stretch from West Virginia to near Pembroke in Robeson County, delivering natural gas along the way.
Proponents say it will boost the local economies that are nearby by providing natural gas, which they say is cheaper and cleaner than coal and coveted by industries. It has the support of practically every economic development group along the way, including the Robeson County Board of Commissioners.
It also has critics who say it is not needed and is not environmentally sound.
The pipeline would be owned in a partnership to include Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas and Southern Company Gas. It is currently in the permitting stage, but its owners believe that could be wrapped up before the end of the year with construction to start next spring.
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