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Pipeline support isn't surprising; it's time to build it now

The Exponent Telegram
by John Miller, Executive Editor

Since the Atlantic Coast Pipeline was first proposed, we’ve thought it to be a great idea, one rooted in sound economic and environmental data.

On the economic side, the pipeline would be a huge boost to the local and state economy, providing hundreds of jobs and expendable income that would be pumped into local restaurants, hotels and shopping venues.

On the environmental side, Dominion Energy and its partners in the project have done exhaustive work in getting the project to the point of final approval. They have worked to overcome issues and answer concerns about the environmental impact.

And let’s not forget that the pipeline will be moving natural gas to areas that need it to burn it for fuel. Since natural gas is more clean-burning than coal and other agents, the environmental damage is lessened significantly.

When you consider these factors, it’s not surprising to us that a recent poll shows the pipeline project to have strong support.

The poll showed about 6 out of every 10 people support the pipeline project, while 28 percent don’t. It also showed that energy issues are important to state residents, with 88 percent noting energy was either very or somewhat important.

Dominion officials are using the poll as a tool to help carry the project to fruition, with media relations manager Aaron Ruby noting that “a small minority of opponents has received disproportionate attention,” while “the vast majority of people in the region want to see this pipeline built.”

We don’t disagree. But we also understand the passionate pleas of those either directly affected or those who worry that the state’s pristine beauty could be affected.

But we strongly believe that the pipeline can be built — and should be built — while also preserving the state’s beauty by protecting the environment.

We understand that development requires compromise, and we believe that Dominion and its partners have taken great effort to minimize the impact to affected parties and the environment.

And we know that the project will have a major impact on economic development, giving our children and children’s children a better opportunity of remaining in the Mountain State and moving it to a brighter future.

Hopefully, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will have a full complement of commissioners so a quorum decision can be made on the final step to beginning pipeline construction.

The poll shows — and we firmly believe — the pipeline project must move forward for the betterment of West Virginia and its people.

Read the full story in The Exponent Telegram


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