Local organizations join pro-pipeline coalition

Published 12:32 pm Saturday, June 27, 2015

On Thursday, more than 100 businesses, labor organizations and other groups in three Mid-Atlantic states came together to create EnergySure, a coalition that supports the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. EnergySure — Standing Up for Reliable Energy — represents millions of employees and associates across Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina, including the Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce and Franklin-Southampton Economic Development Inc.

Projections show that the demand for natural gas as a fuel for generating power will triple over the next 20 years. With older coal-fired power plants reducing capacity to generate electricity, there is an immediate need for a replacement. EnergySure and its subsidiaries believe that access to cleaner-burning natural gas can fill the gap.

The 550-mile, $5 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline project would deliver natural gas from wells in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. It is expected to generate significant economic benefits across the region, including more than 17,000 jobs, $2.7 billion in economic activity and $4.2 million in average annual local tax revenue during construction.

In Virginia alone, construction will support 8,800 jobs and result in $1.4 billion in economic activity.

“It will open the door to bringing new industry to the state of Virginia. If you have the power source, you have the ability to build more and bring more industry,” said Matt Yonka, president of the Virginia State Building and Construction Trades.

President and CEO of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce Barry DuVal added, “Virginia, as a state, needs more power than we can produce currently. Every region of Virginia will benefit from having an additional source of power, and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline represents and opportunity to have that increased power supply.

“[The pipeline] will help position Virginia in the most competitive position possible, it will help us be on the map for large manufacturing facilities and it will create more jobs.”