Get the Facts About the Atlantic Coast Pipeline
The approximately 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline is designed to make our region energy sure by connecting us to an abundant supply of affordable, cleaner-burning natural gas.

Connecting Us to Cleaner Energy

Connecting Us to Cleaner Energy

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a 600-mile-long piece of energy infrastructure that will transport natural gas through some of our region’s most treasured areas. It’s only natural to be concerned about how a project such as this could affect the environment we all want to protect. However, by examining the facts about natural gas — extraction, pipelines and power generation — the environmental benefits to utilizing this cleaner, affordable fuel complement the economic benefits.

Federal regulations are requiring some older, coal-burning power plants that don’t meet new clean air requirements be closed. However, the demand for reliable energy continues to rise — a demand power companies have a responsibility to meet 24/7. Closing older plants gives us the opportunity to build new, cleaner-burning natural gas power plants that will not only meet the rising demand for natural gas as a fuel for power generation but also improve the quality of our air. Natural gas burns more efficiently with fewer emissions and half the carbon output of coal, which currently makes it the cleanest fuel that can still meet our region’s energy needs.

New gas-fired power plants can quickly respond to changes in supply and demand, making the expansion of renewable power more viable.

Another environmental benefit of natural gas power is that it can support the development of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. Because the energy supplied by those sources can be sporadic — when the wind blows or sun shines — it is crucial to have a source of power that can back them up. Currently, an offshore wind farm is being planned for Virginia that could power 700,000 homes but would require reliable back-up generation to move forward. New gas-fired power plants can quickly respond to changes in supply and demand, making the expansion of renewable power more viable.

Much of the concern over the environmental impact of natural gas comes from the drilling process — a practice known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” Fracking has been in use for decades and combined with horizontal drilling, has significantly increased domestic energy supplies and has had a beneficial impact on consumer prices for gasoline, electricity and natural gas. A recent report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found that if done properly, hydraulic fracturing has minimal impact on groundwater sources.

What about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline itself — how will it impact the environment where it runs? As with any construction project, there will be a temporary disruption while the pipeline is being built. But once the pipeline is underground and not seen, most of the land it crosses will be returned to its original use as long as it does not conflict with the rights granted to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Construction of the pipeline will be observed by local, state and federal environmental inspectors along the entire length of the project. A key area for inspectors will be water quality, and they will be conducting tests throughout the construction to ensure quality is the same after the project is completed as it was before. Any environmental impact that cannot be avoided will be as minimized as possible, and appropriate mitigation will be identified with stakeholders to offset that impact.

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is an opportunity to make our region energy sure with affordable, reliable, cleaner natural gas. Together we can meet our increasing needs, grow our economy, create new jobs and protect our environment. To support the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, join the EnergySure Coalition today!


Environment | Natural Gas | Project Need | Reliability | Safety