PLEASANT HILL, North Carolina – Recently Jamie Meadows, a construction worker on the 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline, was thrilled to be able to have a job fairly close to his home and his family.
But then the pipeline was put on pause due to delays in the courts—delays that have put the future of the pipeline and those depending on it up in the air.
We talked to Jamie about the pipeline and how the work stoppage has affected his family.
Q: How did it feel to get a job with the ACP?
A: Where I’m from, you’ve got to move out of the area before you can find anything to do. Jobs in the area where we used to live are pretty much nonexistent. It felt good [working close to home]. Close as I think I’d been to home in several years.
A couple years ago, I was home two times in one year. So it can be several months in between times of seeing family ….
[But] working locally, you’re around your neighbors a lot more, you’re around your family a lot more. You’re basically right there in your own back yard.
Q: Talk to me about how these court delays on the project have impacted you and your family.
A: Well, my wife and I both work on the ACP. Being laid off, it’s our source of income, it’s a job we had depended upon for the next year or so. So everything planned pretty much had to be re-planned.
You don’t know whether to try to find a job that’s going to take you farther from home, or if you want to wait to see what happens. I’d much rather wait and be able to go right back to work, right here close.
Q: Do you think that the public, in general, is aware of how this ends up impacting workers like yourself and your families?
A: I don’t think they are. You got families that are leaving the area to try to find work—they can actually stay now. It’s not just the pipeline jobs that it affects, or the compression station jobs. It’s the actual community, because of the stores that supply those people. So it’s a trickle-down, all the way through.
Q: If you could say something to the folks who are holding this thing up in the courts, what would you want to tell them?
A: Well, it’s kind of aggravating because everybody out there that is against it, are using the final product [natural gas] in one form or another. And they are fighting against something that they pretty much use every day.
Let’s stop the delays and build the ACP.