11.27.2018 0

Building the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will make it cheaper to deliver natural gas in Va. and N.C.—and Congress should approve it


By Robert Romano

Virginia and North Carolina are in need of low-cost natural gas to heat homes, produce electricity and build industrial capacity, and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will be the most efficient way to deliver it. That is why Congress should act in the lame duck session to make sure it gets done as quickly and safely as possible.

Demand for natural gas has been rapidly on the rise the past decade, with consumption growing nationwide 19 percent since 2007 from 23,104 billion cubic feet a year to 27,487 billion cubic feet in 2016, according to data compiled by Energy Information Agency.

In Virginia and North Carolina, the increase has been even more dramatic, with natural gas consumption rising 70 percent and 120 percent, respectively, as the shale boom has made natural gas more plentiful and many power plants have shifted to natural gas to produce electricity.

Unlike coal, which can be stored in large quantities on site at power generators, natural gas requires transportation in order to be used, which is where the pipeline comes in. The fact is that is cheaper and far faster to use a pipeline than it is to put the gas onto trucks and trains.

That is why Congress should make sure that the pipeline gets done as soon as possible in the current lame duck session. This is a worthy project that has been in the planning since 2013 and ought to be expedited so that local communities can see the benefits as soon as possible.

According to Atlanticcoastpipeline.com, “The 600-mile underground Atlantic Coast Pipeline will originate in West Virginia, travel through Virginia with a lateral extending to Chesapeake, VA, and then continue south into eastern North Carolina, ending in Robeson County. Two additional, shorter laterals will connect to two Dominion Energy electric generating facilities in Brunswick and Greensville Counties.”

That’s a lot of land to cover, and Congress can help ensure that it gets done quickly with its imprimatur.

Utilities which provide home heating, electricity and industrial power to homes and businesses will be the major customers of the new flow of natural gas into the region with rate payers being the ultimate beneficiaries.

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning supported Congressional action to allow the Atlantic pipeline to move forward saying, “It is a no-brainer for Congress to clear the way for the safe, reliable transportation of natural gas. America is the natural gas Saudi Arabia of the world, and transporting it using pipelines simply makes the most sense.”

An abundant, clean power source like natural gas can and should be used, but for it to become available, the U.S. needs more pipelines like the Atlantic Coast Pipeline — giving consumers and industrial interests the access they need to it. With time running out on the Republican majority in the House, now is the perfect time for Congress to make building the Atlantic Coast Pipeline national policy.

Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.

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