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Bipartisan leadership of Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina legislatures urge approval of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline

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atlantic coast pipelineIn a letter sent Tuesday to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Republican and Democratic leaders of the Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina General Assemblies announced their support for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline and urged the federal agency to approve the project.

The letter was signed by 16 Republican and Democratic leaders from both houses of the three state legislatures:

Del. William J. Howell, House Speaker, Commonwealth of Virginia; M. Kirkland Cox, House Majority Leader, Commonwealth of Virginia; Del. Matthew James, Hampton Roads Caucus Vice Chair, Commonwealth of Virginia; Sen. Thomas K. Norment, Jr., Senate Majority Leader, Commonwealth of Virginia; Sen. Richard S. Saslaw, Senate Minority Leader, Commonwealth of Virginia; Del. Daryl E. Cowles, House Majority Leader, State of West Virginia; Del. Timothy R. Miley, House Minority Leader, State of West Virginia; Sen. Ryan J. Ferns, Senate Majority Leader, State of West Virginia; Sen. Mitchell B. Carmichael, Senate President, State of West Virginia; Sen. Roman W. Prezioso, Jr., Senate Minority Leader, State of West Virginia; Sen. Corey L. Palumbo, Senate Minority Whip, State of West Virginia; Rep. Timothy K. Moore, House Speaker, State of North Carolina; Rep. John R. Bell, IV, House Majority Leader, State of North Carolina; Rep. Ken Goodman, Co-Chair, House Main Street Democrats, State of North Carolina; Senator Phil Berger, Senate President Pro Tempore, State of North Carolina; and Sen. Daniel T. Blue, Jr., Senate Minority Leader, State of North Carolina.

“As leaders of the West Virginia Senate and House of Delegates; Virginia Senate and House of Delegates; and North Carolina Senate and House of Representatives, we respectfully ask the Commission to approve the pending application for a major project that holds great potential to improve the economies and supply of energy in our states: the Atlantic Coast Pipeline,” the Republican and Democratic leaders wrote in the letter.

“For the people of our states, the project holds the promise of thousands of new jobs, hundreds of millions of dollars of new economic activity, and lower energy prices,” the letter continues. “Additionally, we believe the pipeline would protect our region’s environment by making clean-burning natural gas more available for the production of electricity.”

In the letter, the Republican and Democratic leaders also addressed the environmental impacts of pipeline construction: “We are also very encouraged by the Commission staff’s findings in the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) assessing the project. The draft EIS, in our opinion, conclusively demonstrates that construction and operation of the ACP would pose no threat to our states’ priceless natural resources.”

The letter highlights the significant economic benefits the project will bring to the region, including a total of $2.7 billion in economic activity and more than 17,000 new jobs generated during pipeline construction; and more than $190 million in new property tax revenue that will be generated for local governments through the year 2025.

The letter also focuses on the long-term economic benefits of the project: “In West Virginia, the ACP would promote the continued growth of natural gas production, particularly from the Marcellus and Utica shale fields. The pipeline would directly link these supplies to rapidly growing southeastern markets. And in Virginia and North Carolina, the pipeline would ease constraints plaguing an interstate natural gas pipeline system that has reached its capacity, often leaving it unable to serve new, energy-intensive customers. This has severely hampered our ability to attract new businesses, particularly modern manufacturing operations. The pipeline’s operation would greatly improve our states’ competitive positions and provide a significant boost to our economic development efforts.”

The letter was sent to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as part of the public comment period for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed project, which was issued by the Commission on December 30, 2016. The public comment period closes on April 6, 2017.

The full letter can be viewed here.

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