Dear Editor:

Americans are great in a crisis.  Nothing pulls us together more than a common goal that needs addressed immediately.  What we’re not so good at is planning for the future, and the small group of activists that have held the ACP hostage are indicative of that.  While the gas to be transported is not necessarily needed at this moment, this group of people think that this pipeline supplying gas to the eastern US is completely unnecessary and will destroy our environment, that there will be fire raining down from heaven, dogs and cats living together, and cause universal Armageddon.  For years the US has neglected our infrastructure, energy included.  We didn’t build refineries, we let our steel mills decline, and we allowed our roads and bridges to suffer under age and use.  The result has been seen in the last decade, with higher gas prices due to low supply and the inability to make our own, materials supplies being outsourced to other countries, and job loss across the board.  Only recently have we started to address these problems with fairly immediate results, and it is quite welcome to see the increase in economic activity.

As far as the ACP is concerned, the fact is there are dozens upon dozens of teams of professional engineers working on this project, ensuring that the project does not fail to protect our environment.  Inspectors of every type are watching the progress of construction and, most recently, a report from the US Chamber of Commerce reports that “If coordinated efforts to slow or block pipeline projects like Dominion Energy’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline are ultimately successful, they could prevent at least $91.9 billion in domestic economic activity and could eliminate nearly 730,000 job opportunities throughout the country. In addition, federal, state and local governments could miss out on more than $20 billion in tax revenue…”. 

It is unbelievable that a minority of vocal activists could cause such a disruption in a major infrastructure project, especially one that could provide for a future market of expansion and growth of business and jobs.  Using techniques utilized for the Keystone XL pipeline, this is a group of people that choose to believe that nothing is more sacred than their beliefs, and the benefits that can’t be seen beyond their own short noses must never be realized. 

“The anti-energy movement’s opposition to vital energy infrastructure comes with a real cost: Lost job opportunities and billions in prevented domestic economic activity,” said Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber’s Global Energy Institute.

We’re not in a crisis yet, so this project isn’t looked at as important.  I remember when this country and its citizens marveled at major infrastructure projects and were proud to stand behind them.  Instead, this opposition has caused the layoff of 4,500 highly-skilled construction workers in three States and a further effect on the professional jobs that are associated with it.  This project has the potential to bring cleaner, more affordable and more reliable electricity to millions.  As coal is being phased out it will improve the environment and our economy by moving our region from coal to cleaner energy and the jobs that are associated with that.  The growth of our economy will occur with new manufacturing possibilities and lower energy costs.  The downside is – there will be some construction work done, namely digging a trench and laying pipe.  The trench will then be covered up and the areas reseeded.  Sound simplistic?  It is that simple. 

Let these folks get to work and get this done.  If they had been left alone in 2014 when the project was first approved it would be done by now and the areas reclaimed.  Instead we’re in this endless cycle of obstructionism and defeatism, and it’s not good for anyone or anything.

Michael Holstine
Dunmore, WV