Coalition praises governor for support of pipeline

Published 11:05 am Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Recently, members of the EnergySure Coalition, a diverse group of 189 businesses, labor organization and other local, state and national groups sent a letter to Gov. Terry McAuliffe, thanking him for his continued support of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The letter highlights the significant economic benefits of the proposed 550-mile, $5 billion pipeline project that would deliver natural gas from wells in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

It is expected to generate 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.

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

Barry DuVal, president and CEO of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, concurred.

“The Atlantic Coast Pipeline will improve Virginia’s economic competitiveness and help diversify our economy,” he said. “Ready access to affordable, clean natural gas will help existing Virginia businesses expand and attract new employers to the Commonwealth.”

Attracting new businesses is the top priority for organizations such as the Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce and the Franklin-Southampton Economic Development Inc., which are among the nearly 200 groups that comprise the EnergySure alliance.

“We have been a supporter of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, and we continue to support the efforts to bring good energy to the area,” said Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Teresa Beale. “Having the ability to utilize natural gas would give our community a distinct advantage in recruiting businesses. The proximity to this resource would make us more competitive when attracting investors and jobs to the Franklin-Southampton region.”

Amanda Jarrett, president and CEO of Franklin-Southampton Economic Development Inc., echoed that sentiment last July when both organizations joined the coalition.

“We are charged with marketing the Franklin-Southampton region to new business and industry and providing support to our existing industries, and one thing we need to successfully do that is [have] better access to reliable, reasonably-priced supplies of natural gas,” she said. “As we noted in a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last September, our ability to recruit new businesses, especially manufacturing, is severely handicapped by our lack of access to the fuel. All that will change, we believe, with construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. This greatly improved access to natural gas will put us in a much better position to compete successfully on a national — and even a global — scale for new industrial and manufacturing operations.”