THE PILOT’S SEPT. 15 EDITORIAL, “Caution on pipeline project warranted,” properly notes the need for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Hampton Roads. Our economy, as the Editorial Board agrees, desperately needs the infrastructure in order to grow.
In its assertion that the project review should take more time, however, the Editorial Board doesn’t note that of all the regions in Virginia, only Hampton Roads had negative job growth last quarter. The editorial also doesn’t mention the comprehensive regulatory review process that has already occurred.
Since it was first announced in September 2014, the project has been painstakingly reviewed by more than a dozen state and federal agencies. More than 150,000 pages of reports and documentation have been provided. Hundreds of detailed requests for additional information have been fielded. More than 6,000 miles of potential routes have been evaluated, and the proposed route has shifted more than 300 times to avoid environmentally sensitive areas and address landowner concerns.
It has been more transparent and had more public participation than any project in living memory. The agencies involved have held dozens of public meetings and received more than 75,000 public comments, all of which have been addressed on the public record.
After three years of careful review, it’s time for the project to be approved and built. It is on schedule, and supporters of the project have asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to keep it on schedule. Nothing more, nothing less.
Without the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Pilot readers will have fewer jobs. The energy poverty associated with less access to natural gas will affect those of us who are least able to withstand higher energy prices and lower economic growth.
The economic vitality and energy security of Hampton Roads hang in the balance. Our economy is stagnant. Our existing pipelines are full, and we do not have the infrastructure we need to attract new industries such as manufacturing. Those industries are locating in other regions, where they have reliable access to natural gas.
We can solve these challenges with new infrastructure, and I’m confident we will rise to the challenge.
Virginia Natural Gas