OPINION: Pipeline to prosperity and quality of life

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OPINION: Pipeline to prosperity and quality of life

WV News

Editorial by John Miller - Executive Editor

We have long supported the building of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline because we understand the need for natural gas in regions to our south, as well as the need for jobs here in West Virginia.

We also understand the concerns of individuals and environmental groups looking to keep the Mountain State and other areas along the pipeline’s pathway as pristine as possible.

But as we have long advocated, there is a way — and need — to balance the needs of a nation, region and state with preserving the environment.

What we believe is missing in the equation is the realization that natural gas — and, for that matter, coal — are natural resources. They are a part of the good earth that has been bestowed upon us by a higher presence than anyone here on earth. They were put here for our use.

And much like our use of water, of the air we breathe and the land we cultivate for crops, these natural resources should be used for the furtherance of our world.

Natural gas is a cleaner-burning fuel source than coal. It is a natural progression to move from coal to natural gas as we continue to develop “greener” forms of energy, such as wind, water and solar.

We strongly believe in an “all-in” mindset when it comes to power generation; after all, that philosophy powers the great nation we have become, and that philosophy is needed if we are to remain the great nation that we are. It must be our national energy policy.

So it is of great interest what was said during oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court this past Monday, when several justices appeared to strongly suggest that the lower Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals got it wrong when it stopped a permit granted to the pipeline developers, led by Dominion and Duke Energy.

As we’ve noted in the past, pipeline developers appeared to have gone to great lengths and leaped every possible regulatory hurdle to build what they perceive is a much-needed pipeline.

And they certainly have put their money where their beliefs are, to the tune of $8 billion. If they didn’t see a clear need, they would have never invested this heavily.

Likewise, their efforts to assuage environmental concerns have been noteworthy, with plans to build the pipeline more than 700 feet below the Appalachian Trail. That’s more than the length of two football fields deep.

In a recent press release, developers explained further their reasoning for their appeal to the Supreme Court:

“More than 50 other pipelines already cross underneath the Appalachian Trail without disturbing its public use, and the ACP will be no different. By installing the pipeline 700 feet below the surface and more than a half mile from each side, people hiking by the crossing will not see, hear or even know the pipeline is there.

“Environmental stewardship of the lands the pipeline traverses has been a top priority since day one.

“The ACP is more important now than ever as we address chronic shortages of gas in Hampton Roads, Virginia, and eastern North Carolina, and as we move away from coal and toward more renewables in the region. It will support home heating, military bases and businesses, and help to make our region’s energy cleaner.”

We continue to urge developers to remain true to their commitment to build the pipeline in a way that’s as environmentally friendly as possible.

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is needed. Hopefully, the U.S. Supreme Court sees the folly of the Fourth Circuit’s reasoning and allows the pipeline to proceed.

Read more at WV News.