The Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) is one step closer to providing the reliable delivery of low-cost natural gas supplies to portions of eastern North Carolina after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. As Lynn Good, Duke Energy’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, described, “FERC’s approval is an important milestone and a critical step forward for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to deliver the benefits of affordable, clean natural gas and affirms the project will be built with minimal impacts to the environment…Natural gas from the pipeline will increase consumer savings, enhance reliability, enable more renewable energy and provide a powerful engine for statewide economic development and job growth.” While the ACP will stimulate economic growth Down East with minimal environmental impact, anti-growth groups have wasted no time plotting their latest attack on the project.
Anti-growth groups across North Carolina have made it their mission to stand in the way of the ACP’s progress from day one. Now, the FERC’s recent approval is no doubt sending them into a tizzy. Not only will these obstructionists likely appeal the approval order, they are also conspiring to impede the state permitting process in an effort to delay or block construction of the pipeline. A tactic they’ve employed from the start, these groups will stop at nothing to drive their ideological agenda with no regard for the proven safety and economic value of the pipeline.
Hindering the ACP’s progress is a direct assault on eastern North Carolina’s manufacturing and agriculture industries, the middle class and the region as a whole. As eastern North Carolina continues to battle back from the damage left by Hurricane Matthew more than a year later, the ACP would serve to invigorate the region’s economy, helping advance the area’s economic turnaround. In fact, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will save consumers and businesses an estimated $377 million annually in lower energy, in addition to generating tens of thousands of jobs, $680.2 million in economic activity and $28 million in local tax revenue for the communities along the route of the pipeline. For years, North Carolina’s inadequate supply of reliable natural gas has impeded competition and growth. Now, the region’s manufacturing and agriculture industries stand to gain the most from improved access to natural gas. Not only will the ACP lower energy costs for manufacturers and farmers, but it will pave the way for improved operations and additional jobs. As indicated by studies from the NC Chamber Foundation and NC State Food Manufacturing Task Force, 38,000 jobs in food manufacturing could be added in the coming years, so long as our state takes the necessary steps to improve infrastructure and develop competitive, diversified energy supplies.
There’s no question that these anti-growth groups would be elated to see North Carolina’s economic progress stagnate. However, we know that an “all of the above” energy strategy is key to economic growth and the advancement of manufacturing across the state. As this project continues, it is imperative that our business community remains engaged to ensure that these groups do not prevail.
Gary J. Salamido
Vice President, Government Affairs
North Carolina Chamber