Pipeline Will Fuel New Jobs; Sec. Of Commerce And Trade Calls It A 'Game-Changer

Published 4:05 pm Thursday, March 12, 2015

FARMVILLE – The Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) can play a pivotal role in economic development for the state, particularly rural Virginia, Secretary of Commerce and Trade, Maurice Jones, told the Farmville Area Chamber of Commerce Monday.

“Talk about the economic development opportunities of having access to cheap natural gas in the commonwealth,” said Sec. Jones, a Kenbridge native and Hampden-Sydney College graduate. “It’s a game-changer.”

The 550-mile pipeline will cross Buckingham, in addition to portions of southern Cumberland and eastern Prince Edward, on its way to North Carolina.

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The project, he acknowledged, “is controversial in one sense—we need to make sure we’re respecting people’s property rights and that we’re respecting the environment.”

But, he told chamber members, “I can’t tell you the number of companies who say to me when we’re trying to attract them, and in particular to rural parts of the state, ‘Can I get access to natural gas?’ And if I can tell them yes, it is literally a game-changer.”

Energy, he stressed, is a “fundamental piece” of the infrastructure puzzle as Virginia competes for new jobs.

“Keeping energy prices low, keeping them competitive, making sure that people can access the latest and the most affordable and accessible forms of energy, including natural gas,” he emphasized.

Noting that manufacturing jobs are returning to the US after their decades-old flight overseas, Sec. Jones said, “We’ve gotta have a world class infrastructure if you want to grow an economy.”

The Dominion-led joint venture pipeline project would begin in West Virginia and proposes to include a connecting lateral line from southern Virginia, eastward to the Tidewater area.

Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas and AGL Resources joined Dominion in the project.

In Virginia, the pipeline would be 42 inches in diameter and one of its three compressor stations is proposed for Buckingham County.

Local organized opposition to the project has been centered in the Yogaville community and the Friends Of Buckingham group (see page one story).