BUCKHANNON, W.Va. – In the fall of 2018, the machines in Casey Earl Mills’ Upshur County embroidery shop were humming, churning out hats and other items for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
Today, Casey’s machines sit largely idle. In December 2018, all work on the ACP was halted over a permit dispute. The work stoppage put the future of workers, communities and business owners on the line.
Back in the fall, Casey said he owed his success directly to the pipeline.
“The Atlantic Coast Pipeline coming through has actually made my business,” he said.
Almost immediately upon moving into the area, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project team placed a large order for embroidered hats and other items with Mills’ shop.
“I was able to order another embroidery machine, so I’d be able to double the speed with which I turn around large orders,” Mills said. “This has meant everything to me.”
“Basically, I was running in the red as a first-year business,” he said. “Most businesses do. As soon as the pipeline came in, I went directly to the black."
But Casey isn’t so sure he will thrive now that the pipeline is idled.
“It’s going to be hard if this continues to be shut down,” he said.
“I’m in a position where I could create jobs, and that’s one of the things the pipeline has helped me do,” he said. “It’s a huge opportunity.”