In a rural Virginia home, Ted Dinch’s well-worn work boots sit idle on top of a countertop.
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is intended to stretch for 600 miles, from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina, providing reliable natural gas along with jobs, development and community growth. But in December 2018, a permitting dispute halted all work on the project.
The delay in construction is causing concern among workers connected with the project, businesses in the areas around construction, and communities counting on development that goes along with the pipeline.
“The delay has definitely caused great concern for my family and myself,” said Dinch, a father who, with his wife, decided the financial stability of steady work on the pipeline would lead to a promotion and allow the family to support a new baby.
“With another child on the way, and not knowing when the work’s going to start or how we’re going to pay our bills, the only thing I can do is call every night and check the jobline with our local union to see where the jobs are,” Dinch said. “There’s not many.”
Unless work on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline starts again soon, Dinch fears dire financial times for his family.
The shutdown is also affecting businesses associated with the pipeline.
“When Dominion Energy announced the ACP pipeline, we saw it as a real opportunity to grow our business and also give our employees better opportunities,” said Greg Hadjis, president of J.F. Allen Company, a construction materials supplier based in Buckhannon, West Virginia, that also operates a quarry in Elkins.
Once construction on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline began in West Virginia, Hadjis switched his crews from five 10-hour work shifts a week to six 12-hour shifts to keep up with demand. He said his aggregate volumes were up by 45 percent.
“Abruptly, we got a call that the pipeline was being shut down,” Hadjis said. With work halted, he did what any business owner would have to do – he scaled back and laid people off.
“Just as our volumes have dropped, the work hours have scaled back, and of course that means lower paychecks,” he said. Hadjis added the work stoppage has affected not only his business, but other local businesses that were seeing growth because of the pipeline.
Roy Bell, mayor of the North Carolina town of Garysburg, said communities are also counting on economic growth from the pipeline. Bell said towns like Garysburg can only do so much by relying on local taxpayers to foot the bill.
In Garysburg, Bell said one of the biggest needs is a new school.
“The pipeline brings the revenue we need to fund those kinds of things,” Bell said.
“You can’t get those things done through taxing people,” he said. “You have to get those things done through bringing in industries and bringing in businesses that you can get revenue from.”
Bell and others feeling the effects of the work stoppage think it’s time to stop the delays on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. To make your voice heard, visit www.BuildTheACP.com to sign a petition of support for the ACP.