A great investment

Published 1:44 pm Tuesday, August 29, 2017

If $260,000 of taxpayers’ dollars can be used to expand the industrial and business base for Buckingham County and the region, it’s well worth the millions of dollars in benefits the investment will reap.

The cost, which has been questioned by those opposed to the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) project, is one part of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that would allow the county access and control of 200 acres along a proposed lateral line off of the proposed 42-inch natural gas pipeline.

Such access for a locality is very, very rare along the ACP, which we’ve endorsed in this space in the past. We stand by that opinion.

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The MOU, one that involves Kyanite Mining Corp., Columbia Gas of Virginia, Blue Rock Resources and the county’s board of supervisors, calls for “An Aid to Construction Agreement between the County Board and (Columbia Gas of Virginia) under which Buckingham County will contribute $260,000 as an aid in construction toward the construction of the Lateral (line).”

In November, County Attorney E.M. Wright Jr. told supervisors that Kyanite Mining — Buckingham’s largest private sector employer — was working with Columbia Gas and ACP “to acquire a tap, metering and a decompression station and construction of a lateral pipeline off of (the ACP) that will provide natural gas to (Kyanite).”

Through the negotiations between ACP and Kyanite, the county and its residents have been afforded an incredible opportunity for access to natural gas — a selling point for many, many businesses looking to expand and relocate.

And if the $260,000 results in more businesses, and in turn more jobs and economic opportunity for the people of Buckingham, then by all means, the money is worth its weight in gold.

Let’s put the tap into context. Kyanite is the world’s largest producer of the industrial minerals kyanite and mullite, according to its website.

The tap to the lateral line from the ACP, Wright said in November, would carry enough capacity “to handle the needs of Kyanite, plus maybe three to four companies the size of Kyanite.”

This natural gas pipeline, the station and the sought tap will bring prosperity through jobs, increased county revenue and the potential for access to clean, natural gas for homes and businesses in Buckingham.