FSEDI endorses Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Published 9:23 am Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Franklin Southampton Economic Development Inc. is very pleased to offer our enthusiastic endorsement of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. This major energy initiative will greatly increase the availability of natural gas — a clean, abundant and economical fuel source — to the Commonwealth of Virginia, including our own growing region.

Earlier this month, four major energy companies including Dominion, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas and AGL Resources — parent of Virginia Natural Gas — formed a joint venture to build the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The 550-mile project will stretch from West Virginia to southern North Carolina, with a lateral extension from the Virginia-North Carolina border to Hampton Roads. This lateral pipeline will pass directly through the Franklin-Southampton area.

It is hard to overstate this project’s benefits. A recent study estimated that its construction alone would generate $1.4 billion in economic activity in Virginia and support thousands of jobs.

By making natural gas more available, it will help stabilize energy prices for homes and businesses, and it will provide an environmentally friendly fuel source for electric generation.

We believe the pipeline will provide another important direct benefit to the Franklin-Southampton region: increasing our ability to bring new businesses, especially new manufacturing opportunities, to the area. Today’s industrial operations require affordable and reliable access to natural gas. The pipeline will give our region direct access to the rich supplies of the fuel from the Marcellus and Utica shale basins in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The rapidly growing production from these domestic fields is one of the century’s biggest energy stories.

Franklin and Southampton County already offer many advantages for businesses: major transportation corridors, skilled and hard-working residents, and areas we would like to designate for industrial development. Access to this abundant, affordable source of natural gas would be a tremendous boost to our ability to compete, nationally and around the globe, for new manufacturing. We congratulate the pipeline partnership for this historic effort to bring new energy supplies to the Commonwealth and look forward to supporting the project as it moves forward.

AMANDA JARRATT is president and CEO of the Franklin Southampton Economic Development Inc.