The Atlantic Coast Pipeline has the potential to drastically improve North Carolina’s economy by supplying much-needed gas at lower prices.
In today’s age, everything is controversial. We have collectively spent countless man-hours debating things that shouldn’t be controversial. Whether the dress is blue, if syrup is a condiment, if Star Wars is living up to the hype (Nope, No, and Yes), there is something for us all to argue about.
The truth is, so much of this is exaggeration and hyperbole when it comes pipeline issues, is based on nothing but what-if scenarios. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is no exception to this rule and has been a subject of contention since its conception. This contention is unduly exacerbated by NIMBYs and environmental extremists. These two groups have continuously fought tooth and nail every step of the way; one group feeding the other nonsense to regurgitate.
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) is a 600-mile underground pipeline that will transport natural gas from Harrison County, West Virginia to Robeson County, North Carolina. Planning for the pipeline took into consideration more than 6,000 miles of potential routes and then made an additional 300 adjustments to minimize the impact on homeowners and environmentally-sensitive areas.
Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina have a long history of coal. They have been ravished by the decline in coal in almost every way. Currently, North Carolina receives its gas from other states and is a fairly heavy user. Nearly a quarter of households use natural gas, but the manufacturing sector is the largest consumer.
Take a look at Nucor, a steel mill that churns out over $1 billion of steel yearly and one of North Carolina’s largest energy consumers. It employee 480 people who typically earn $90,000 per year. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline could reduce energy costs for manufacturers by more than $130 million a year and will, at a minimum, stabilize prices to ensure future competitiveness for Nucor. Moreover, Gary Brown, Director of the Northampton County Economic Development Commission, would like to have another Nucor business, but without more natural gas supplies, he says he has a hard time pitching prospective companies.
North Carolina used 516 Trillion BTUs of natural gas in 2015 and it’s only going to increase. Two coal plants closed in 2013, Riverbend and Buck, and more are slated to come offline soon. There is going to be a need to replace these plants with reliable energy and nuclear and renewables are not going to meet the demand. When you consider the amount of gas they consume in addition to the fact they are now paying 20% more than the national average, the economy is going to boom.
Most of you probably cross over a pipeline or three every day and not even realize it. There are 2.4 million miles of pipeline in the U.S, but there is a shortage of quality natural gas pipelines. More are drastically needed to help get our blue-flaming gold to areas that need it. However, this doesn’t stop people from opposing them with what can only be described as utter nonsense.
Extremist enviro groups such as North Carolina based Appalachian Voices spread this nonsense on their websites and through their propaganda:
“If built, the pipeline would harm countless family farms, national forest land and historic sites and impair streams and drinking water supplies. Further, it would threaten the health and safety of nearby residents, worsen the impacts of climate change, and impede investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy.”
This sort of shallow sixth-grade rationalization is the very reason the APC is facing a delay for more environmental studies. The Virginia State Water Control Board voted to approve its permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, but delayed the project until several additional environmental impact reports are completed. While it is a minor delay and overall promising, I doubt this would have been an issue had it not been for radical opposition groups such as the Chesapeake Climate Action Network – one of the main entities who fought against fracking in Maryland, using money from New York and Boston elites to finance their activities.
Their goal is to push this project off until the new Governor-elect Ralph Northam’s administration comes into power. Delays are wins in their book and the longer they can delay the project the more likely they can make it go away somehow. Meanwhile, they engage in disgusting gimmicks such as putting 14 military veterans out front to speak for all veterans. I can, as veteran myself, assure readers they don’t, but that’s the nature of this beast; the swamp monster that may be the real “Chessie.” The sad part of such small victories in pride and thought-control will be a huge loss for the Tar Heels if the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is significantly delayed.