McAuliffe Dubs Controversial Pipeline ‘Energy Superhighway’

Posted: Updated: Sep 16, 2014 06:28 PM

The governor of Virginia has dubbed it the "energy superhighway.”

He says a natural gas pipeline that will cross through Virginia is on the way, but others have some big reservations about the project.

At the Capitol Tuesday, Governor Terry McAuliffe and several energy companies announced a partnership to build the Atlantic coast pipeline. The $5 billion project would cross West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina.

The governor praised this move but not everyone is on board. Despite the projected job creation and economic growth, the governor is on the defense already.

"Everyone is now going to have cheaper home heating and cooling costs - that's a win for everybody. There's something in this pipeline for everyone. That's why we're all very excited,” McAuliffe said.

In his address, McAuliffe said the construction of the natural gas pipeline through Virginia would create 8,800 jobs and generate billions of dollars over time. Yet, as the projected route crosses through Augusta County and the beloved George Washington National Forest, others have reservations.

"The topography alone suggests it's going to be very difficult for this project to be built without significant damaging effects on the public lands, on forest, and on streams and rivers,” said Greg Buppert, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center. “We're surprised and frankly disappointed.”

People living in Nelson County and Augusta County have already been speaking out against the pipeline at meetings in their respective communities.

"Citizens there feel like they will bear the cost of the project with few, if any, long-term economic benefits,” Buppert said.

But McAuliffe says the pipeline will set Virginia apart from the pack, phase out reliance on coal and oil, and alleviate ballooning energy costs.

"This project will both be immediate for job hiring and most importantly, long-lasting,” McAuliffe said.

Other benefits cited by the governor include reeling in more manufacturing industries.

The CEO of Dominion also said part of the reason for the soaring energy bills last winter had to do with a pipeline shortage, not a lack of resources.

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