Business, labor groups urge support for Atlantic Coast Pipeline
In a letter sent today to all six major party candidates for Virginia governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general, a group of more than three dozen Virginia business and labor organizations expressed their support for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
In the letter, the organizations outlined the substantial economic and environmental benefits the pipeline will bring to Virginia and encouraged the candidates’ support. In particular, the groups highlighted the thousands of new jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity the pipeline will generate during construction.
The groups also touted the 1,300 long-term new jobs, increased manufacturing and hundreds of millions of dollars in annual energy cost savings the pipeline will support once in operation.
Finally, the letter explains the significant environmental benefits the project will bring to Virginia by allowing public utilities to continue transitioning from coal to cleaner-burning natural gas and making increased investments in renewable energy.
Congratulations on winning your party’s nomination for statewide office. As you travel the Commonwealth, you likely have heard of EnergySure, a three-state coalition of nearly 300 businesses, economic development organizations and labor groups, and over 20,000 individuals who are standing up for reliable energy. As members of this coalition, we ask that you support the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project to bring much needed natural gas to our region. Now that you have received your party’s nomination and seek Virginians’ support for the office you pursue, we believe it is important that you fully understand the various needs, facts and benefits of this project.
First, let’s start in Hampton Roads where new energy infrastructure is urgently needed to diversify the region’s economy and create new pathways for growth. Economic developers in the region are hard at work recruiting advanced manufacturers and other new industries to replace the jobs and development lost as a result of sequestration and defense spending cuts. Yet the region’s natural gas pipeline infrastructure is fully tapped and unable to support these new industries. Natural gas is in such short supply that in recent winters Virginia Natural Gas has been forced to shut off service to major industrial customers just to keep homes warm and hospitals running. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a once-in-a- generation solution to these challenges. It will bring new, abundant and affordable supplies of natural gas into Hampton Roads so the region can once again compete for 21st century manufacturing industries and the good-paying jobs they support.
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline also promises to be an economic game changer for the entire Commonwealth of Virginia. The project will stimulate billions of dollars in economic activity during construction and tens of millions of dollars a year in tax revenue once it’s built. By bringing new and lower-cost supplies of natural gas into the state, it will also lower energy costs for all Virginia consumers by close to $240 million a year. That represents enormous energy savings that businesses can reinvest in growth, and hardworking families can use to make ends meet.
The two-year construction phase in Virginia will support 8,800 jobs and generate $1.4 billion in economic activity. That’s hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts for local businesses and hundreds of millions more in income for Virginia workers and their families. Once in operation, the pipeline is expected to support 1,300 Virginia jobs through increased manufacturing and other economic growth resulting from expanded access to natural gas and lower energy costs for businesses. Finally, the project will generate more than $11 million each year in local property tax revenue, allowing local governments to make much needed investments in public schools, transportation infrastructure and other vital local services. This project stands to bene t all Virginians, and we urge your support of its permitting and construction.
The project is also a critical element of Virginia’s transition toward a cleaner energy future. The transition from coal to cleaner-burning natural gas has already allowed the United States to make drastic cuts in carbon emissions, and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will only accelerate that progress in Virginia. Natural gas produces half the carbon emissions of coal, and 80 to 90 percent less sulfur and nitrogen emissions. Natural gas also serves as a companion to renewable energy sources because it provides the reliable, around-the-clock backup power utilities need to keep the lights on and the economy running when solar isn’t producing electricity. Without continued investments in new natural gas infrastructure and power generation, the transition to increased use of renewables will not be possible. Working hand in hand, natural gas and renewables will build a bridge to a cleaner energy future for Virginia, and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will play a vital role in this historic transition.
We hope you will learn more about the benefits of natural gas and how the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will improve the lives of all Virginians at www.energysure.com. You will find that elected officials of both parties have shown a unique commitment to principles over politics by endorsing this project. While the opposition to this project is often the most vocal, public opinion surveys consistently show that the overwhelming majority of Virginians recognize the importance of energy infrastructure and support the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
EnergySure and its members look forward to working with you to promote reliable energy across our region. We thank you for taking the time to hear from our coalition and wish you best of luck this November.