The News Virginian
by Bob Stuart
WAYNESBORO — A poll commissioned by a Washington, D.C.-based energy organization shows majority voter support in all three affected states for the approval and construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
Fifty-four percent of voters surveyed by the Consumer Energy Alliance in Virginia support the project, while 60 percent surveyed in West Virginia do, and 52 percent do in North Carolina. The poll for Consumer Energy Alliance was done by Hickman Analytics, a firm that has done extensive political and other polling.
The 600-mile natural gas pipeline would start in West Virginia and come through Virginia before ending in North Carolina. The pipeline path would cut a swath of 55 miles through Augusta County. The pipeline would carry up to 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day, and is a $5.1 billion project.
The poll also revealed that across all three states, about two-thirds of voters believe pipelines are the safest way to carry natural gas. And the poll also indicated that "substantially'' more voters are likely to vote for a candidate who supports natural gas infrastructure projects like the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
Aaron Ruby, a spokesman for Dominion Energy, the lead utility in the pipeline, said the poll shows the strong support for the pipeline.
"While a small minority of opponents have received disproportionate attention the vast majority of people in the region want to see this pipeline built,'' Ruby said. "Their voices deserve to be heard. They want a cleaner environment, lower energy bills and more economic opportunity."
Representatives for economic development and manufacturing in Virginia applauded the poll results.
"The Atlantic Coast Pipeline will bring good-paying jobs to Virginia and make us more attractive for businesses,'' said Barry DuVal, president and CEO of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce.
Brett Vassey, president and CEO of the Virginia Manufacturers Association, said "the natural gas that this pipeline will deliver to Virginia will provide affordable, reliable, clean electricity, fuel and raw material for our manufacturing facilities."
Meanwhile, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently issued a revised timetable for the pipeline approval. FERC said earlier in May that the final environmental impact statement on the pipeline would be released by July 21.
FERC said in its revised EIS date that it had only "recently received the information necessary for us to complete our environmental review." The original environmental impact statement completion date was late June.
FERC said the delay in the final environmental impact statement was to get answers to comments received on the draft statement, which was released at the end of 2016.
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