On Friday, Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration received praise from Senate Leader Phil Berger for moving the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) project forward in North Carolina. Sen. Berger, a Rockingham County Republican, urged too for Cooper to stand up to the “far-left environmentalists” and focus on job creation.
The state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) approved the water permit for the pipeline to move forward, which will run from West Virginia to North Carolina and is expected to create 4,000 jobs during the construction of the pipeline and more thereafter.
Berger released a statement saying, “I’ve supported the Atlantic Coast Pipeline from the start, and while approval took longer than it should have, I appreciate Gov. Cooper finally standing up to the far-left environmentalists and permitting this job-creating project. This new pipeline will allow North Carolina to reap the benefits of the fossil fuel driven energy revolution that is powering America’s economic growth. I sincerely hope this signals a new willingness by Gov. Cooper to reject the radical anti-business elements that dominate today’s Democratic Party and work with Republicans on pro-growth economic policies that will create jobs in North Carolina.” The project to build the natural gas transmission line is expected to help meet the state’s growing energy needs, lower energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with coal-fired electric plants, Berger said.
Construction of the pipeline is expected to create 4,000 jobs during construction and thousands of jobs after completion, and to generate millions of dollars in property tax revenues in rural eastern North Carolina.
Cooper’s praise for the project however was not focused on the pipeline, and the fuel and jobs it brings, but on the creation of a fund that comes with the pipeline funded by the ACP and its partners Duke Energy and Dominion Power.
The ACP comes with a $57.8 million fund to be used for environmental mitigation initiatives such as reducing the carbon footprint and expansion of renewable energy sources, according to Cooper’s release.
How the funds will be administered is still not finalized.
Cooper said the funds could also be used to ensure that local communities benefit economically from the pipeline by having access to natural gas as the project does not guarantee affordable access to natural gas for communities through which the pipeline will run.
“My goal for North Carolina is complete reliance on renewable energy, which builds a cleaner environment and a stronger economy,” Cooper said. “During the time it takes to get us to a full renewable energy future, we will still need to rely on other fuels as we move away from the pollution of coal-fired power plants.”
DEQ is committed to an added level of protection for communities.
The pipeline has conditional water permits from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the state of West Virginia and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Cooper said DEW will carefully monitor construction and operation of the pipeline in order to address any potential safety risks and will require the ACP to mitigate any damage from the construction of the pipeline.
“Preserving clean water and the integrity of the communities where this pipeline is constructed will be a priority,” Cooper said. “I have asked our environmental regulators at DEQ to hold this project accountable and to continue to insist on clean water, effective sedimentation control and high air quality along the path of the construction. At the same time, I am continuing to push for more renewable energy, especially solar and wind.”