Don’t let anyone tell you the proposed 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline is not good for West Virginia and West Virginians.
The $5.1 billion pipeline project, spearheaded by Dominion Energy, would begin in Harrison County and bring natural gas from the Marcellus shale and other prolific gas formations in and around north-central West Virginia to natural gas users in Virginia and southeastern North Carolina, reported the Gazette-Mail’s Max Garland.
Understand, West Virginia has an overabundance of natural gas. Thanks to recently developed technology, hydraulic fracturing, natural gas developers can now retrieve gas from “tight sands” shale formations that years ago were thought to be unreachable. One of the world’s largest of those formations lies largely in West Virginia — the Marcellus Shale.
Sure, hydraulic fracturing has some risks if not done correctly, but the nation’s producers are proving that natural gas extraction and delivery can be done safely and with minimal ecological impact.
Yet opponents to the pipeline project are claiming the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, and other proposed pipelines to take West Virginia gas to market, won’t help West Virginia.
Some of West Virginia’s most beloved manufacturers create their goods in-state and ship them to markets out of state and across the globe.
West Virginians speak proudly of companies like Marble King, the Paden City manufacturer that makes and ships toy and industrial marbles to markets across the world, earning the company the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Exporting in 2000.
State citizens boast with pride when we gather at out-of-state family and friends residences and they pull out Fiesta dinnerware, manufactured by the Homer Laughlin China Co. in Newell.
These products, made in West Virginia to be used by anyone willing to pay for them, bring much-needed jobs and revenue to the state of West Virginia.
And natural gas pipeline companies exporting natural gas from West Virginia to other states will do the same for the state, if not at a much grander scale.
West Virginians would never support blocking trucks and railroad cars from taking Marble King and Fiestaware products out of state. That would shut down production and cause loss of West Virginia jobs and revenue — not to mention be a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Interstate Commerce Clause.
The reason pipelines are needed to ship West Virginia natural gas out of state is because there are not enough manufacturers like Marble King and Homer Laughlin China — who incidentally consume huge amounts of natural gas — within the state.
West Virginia has plenty of gas to share. Sharing it with markets in other states and countries will bring jobs, revenue and lower energy prices — as it encourages even more gas to be produced in West Virginia — benefiting all residents of West Virginia as well as in the markets receiving the gas.
Congratulations to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline for receiving a positive environmental assessment. Here’s hoping for a similarly positive FERC approval in the coming months.