Construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline – a 600-mile natural gas transmission line stretching from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina – gave West Virginia welder William Jones a rare opportunity to work close to home.
Ordinarily, pipeline work involves Jones spending months away from home and away from his wife and children. “That’s the only way I can provide the life my family deserves, is doing what I do for a living,” Jones said.
But getting hired to work on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s stretch through West Virginia gave Jones a unique opportunity, a nearly two-year project close to home.
“I’ll be able to be home,” Jones said. “I’ll be able to take care of my family, I’ll be able to watch my sons play their sports, I’ll be able to take my wife out for dinner. Never in my life have I been able to work from home and provide a good life for my family.”
But in December 2018, all work stopped on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline over a permit dispute. The order idled thousands of workers almost immediately, and cast doubt on businesses and communities counting on the pipeline for jobs, economic development and access to plentiful and affordable natural gas.
If work on the pipeline project doesn’t start again soon, “I’ll feel robbed,” Jones said. “I’ve been waiting on the opportunity to be on this project so I can be home with my family.”