Duke Energy and Dominion Power are proposing to build a 600-mile pipeline to carry fracked natural gas from West Virginia and Pennsylvania to Virginia and North Carolina. If built, it would be one of the largest US pipelines. The initial cost estimate is $5.1 billion, to be paid for by Duke and Dominion electric and gas customers, probably through higher fuel prices.
The proposed route starts at fracking sites in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio, cuts through Virginia and ends in Robeson County, NC.
The project was announced in September 2014. Construction has been delayed six months, but the owners hope to gain federal approval by early 2017, and complete construction by late 2018.
The ACP’s Many Harms to North Carolina
A Hazard for Health and Safety
Gas pipelines leak, sometimes slowly and sometimes through blowouts that harm neighbors and property. Compressor stations along the route leak – and by design they constantly release gas into the air, increasing the risk of explosions. Residents near compressor stations have suffered nosebleeds, nausea, rashes and headaches due to spikes in releases. The ACP would cause more fracking in communities near drilling sites that are already suffering water and air contamination.
Disastrous for Our Climate
North Carolina is already being harmed by increased heat waves, crop damage, sea level rise, stronger storms and more. Scientists warn that global warming is a crisis that must be tackled immediately. The growing use of fracked gas is making the climate crisis worse due to the leakage and intentional venting of “natural” gas – which is mostly methane – from drilling sites all the way to power plants. Methane is 86-100 times more powerful at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, the pollutant created by burning coal, oil and gas.
A Financial Risk for All
Fracked gas is not a reliable source of fuel and the price will surely rise. Many of the US shale gas wells are in decline, yet the fracking industry and their captive federal regulators continue to overstate the amount of gas underground. Many industry leaders warn there are too many pipelines already, which creates the likelihood of shortages, power outages and rate hikes for all Duke and Dominion customers.
False Promises of Economic Development
In communities along the proposed route, the ACP is promoted as a driver of new business and jobs. But the falling shale gas supply and high future prices make this a risky promise. New jobs or development won’t survive if the ACP becomes underused due to low supply and high prices. Yet, the sacrifices to health, property and the environment would persist long after the jobs dry up.
Abuse of Property Rights
If the ACP is approved, landowners would be forced to allow the pipeline to be buried on their property through “eminent domain.” This would restrict owners’ use of their property and lower its value.
Rivers and Forests Harmed
The ACP would cross the Blue Ridge Mountains, forests, rivers and streams. With such a large construction project, our waters and forests would be greatly harmed.