Natural gas pipeline will be good for Virginia

Natural gas pipeline will be good for Virginia

It’s no secret that our community’s economy is struggling. From the significant uptick of those living in poverty to the fiasco of our city’s fiscal crisis, it is clear we need to start exploring and vetting alternative solutions.

To build a more prosperous and vibrant Central Virginia, we must seek out and develop

innovative ideas, policies and projects that a stronger economy requires. Thankfully, there is one project under consideration that, if approved, will greatly enhance and insure our energy supply for years to come, and in turn stimulate the local economy.

At least in the energy policy area, it has been promising to see so many Republicans and

Democrats, lawmakers, business owners and workers stand united in support of a major project that has the potential to do immeasurable good for our economy and our people: The Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP).

The ACP is exactly the kind of major infrastructure project our state and nation needs if we want to get serious about establishing an economy that is built to last. It will help attract industry and pave the way to good-paying manufacturing jobs that were once the backbone of the American middle class that reside in Petersburg, Dinwiddie, Chesterfield, and Colonial Heights. I’ve been hearing from my constituents, and the number one issue continues to be jobs and the economy.

The ACP would be a viable part of the desperately needed solution for many Virginians.

The ACP provides American energy for American Consumers. This natural gas from West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio that will flow to homes and businesses in Virginia and North Carolina. With our world in such a state of uncertainty and unrest, the more energy we can get from right here on our own shores, the better. And it’s cleaner energy at that. Natural gas produces half of the carbon emissions of coal and it produces dramatically less sulfur and nitrogen.

Virginia needs natural gas immediately. The demand for it is estimated to double in the next 20 years in Virginia and North Carolina. Already we’ve seen a major Virginia natural gas supplier suspend supply to some of their larger industrial customers during a cold snap just so they could keep consumer’s homes heated. That is not a tenable situation. It is not a situation future employers want to encounter.

Employers want an energy supply that is both reliable and affordable. When a major company or business is thinking about expanding, you can bet one of their first questions will be, “tell us about the energy supply, how much it costs, and how dependable it is.”

If we want to attract industry and business, we better be able to tell the employers of today, and tomorrow, that they will not have to worry about energy in Virginia. The only way we can do this is through ensuring that major projects like the ACP get built in a timely fashion.

The ACP is, as the governor has noted, a “jobs pipeline.” It will mean 8,800 jobs during

construction, and thousands more after its completion. In the communities the natural gas travels underground, completely out of sight. Thus, millions of yearly property tax revenues will be generated.

The economic growth and good-paying jobs associated with development of the ACP will only help serve as a catalyst for our community’s economy. Providing opportunities for good-paying jobs that can support a family, send a child to college and help with retirement is paramount to turning our current economic situation around.

Let’s not ignore the opportunity we have before us. It is time for us, collectively as a community and a region, to get behind this endeavor with overwhelming support because it is a cause that will positively impact our communities for generations to come.

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