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Pressing need to ‘increase profits’

Despite claims by the builders of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), the public interest will be best served if the ACP is not built. 

If the existing pipeline is used according to the 20-year agreements already in place to provide natural gas to Dominion Energy’s generators, electric rates will be lower.

The already-paid-for Transco line will cost ratepayers less than the increasingly expensive ACP. 

The Buckingham memorandum of understanding will only be exercised if new users of gas materialize, and no one can promise that they will.

Further, U.S. natural gas rates will increase if our gas is exported to the international market which has much higher rates. 

The gas to be moved through the ACP does not currently have destinations with new U.S. facilities. 

The companies building the ACP have not had to prove the public need by identifying U.S. uses for its gas. 

When they point to electric generation, they do not account for use of the current supply of gas if gas from the ACP displaces it.

The pressing need is to increase owner profits, not serve the public.

The ACP is proposed with the mindset of, “If we build it, they will come.” 

No one is discussing what will happen to the gas if new domestic uses do not materialize before the pipeline is complete. 

In fact, since Dominion Energy’s rate payers will face higher rates to pay for the ACP itself and higher rates when gas prices rise due to new international competition, building the ACP is inherently against the public interest.

The ACP will transfer wealth from ratepayers and landowners who will have to live with the danger and losses of the pipeline to company shareholders and workers who will increase their earnings. 

The ACP has no existing public need. However, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission accepts the company’s assertion that there is a need on the basis of promises to use the gas for unidentified purposes.

Irene Ellis Leech is from Mt. Rush in Buckingham. Her email address is ileech@vt.edu.