Organizations, local leaders respond to Atlantic Coast Pipeline project cancellation


FILE – This Feb. 8, 2018, file photo shows signs that mark the route of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Deerfield, Va. Dominion Energy Virginia recently told state regulators “significant build-out” of natural gas-fired generating facilities is no longer viable because of renewable energy legislation lawmakers passed earlier this year. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) – For nearly six years, billions of dollars and countless hours were devoted to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project — which created as much controversy as it did promise.

After the cancellation announcement on Sunday, various organizations released statements regarding the information. Some agree with the cancellation while others were on board with the changes and opportunities it presented.

Southern Environmental Law Center led the legal challenges of the project and on behalf of the Center, Senior Attorney Greg Buppert issued a statement applauding the decision.

This is a victory for all the communities that were in the path of this risky and unnecessary project. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline was wrong from the start. After years of opposition, legal defeats and threats to the environment, SELC is relieved to see Duke and Dominion make the right decision to walk away from it.

This is a great day for the people of Union Hill, for public lands, for landowners in the path, and for all North Carolinians and Virginians who deserve a clean energy future and are no longer on the hook to pay for this $8 billion pipeline.

Southern Environmental Law Center Senior Attorney Greg Buppert

Throughout the timeline of the project, the SELC represented a number of conservation organizations opposed to the pipeline.

Virginia Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Barry DuVal released a statement in opposition of the canceled project regarding the thousands of jobs and economic revenue it would have created — especially for the Commonwealth.

“The Atlantic Coast Pipeline was an invaluable gas infrastructure investment that would spur economic development. The ACP project was expected to generate significant economic benefits across the three-state region, including more than 17,000 jobs, $2.7 billion in economic activity, and $4.2 million in average annual local tax revenue during construction,” DuVal said.

For the state of Virginia, the Chamber said that the initial construction phases of the project were expected to support nearly 8,800 jobs as well as adding $1.4 billion in economic activity. 

Once in operation, the pipeline was expected to bring in nearly $38 million in economic activity, support 1,300 jobs, and generate $10.4 million in local tax revenue in 13 counties and cities along the route. The project would also allow for new business development and economic growth along the pipeline route.

“Unfortunately, today’s announcement detrimentally impacts the Commonwealth’s access to affordable, reliable energy. It also demonstrates the significant regulatory burdens businesses must deal with in order to operate,” DuVal continued. “In addition, the cancellation of the ACP project highlights the significant legal and regulatory barriers that businesses now face to complete infrastructure projects distinctly in the public interest.”

Chesapeake Bay Foundation Virginia Executive Director Peggy Sanner said, “Thanks to many years of hard work by a broad and diverse coalition of advocates and organizations, we can finally celebrate the end of a misconceived and destructive project. CBF was one of many who fought the battle to reveal its numerous flaws.”

“This is a landmark victory for both the environment and the many individuals and communities who faced threats from the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The project would have crossed steep mountainous terrain, fragmented valuable forests, polluted streams and rivers, and threated vulnerable communities along a 600-mile path,” she continued.

Sanner closed with, “The pipeline’s cancellation not only reflects mounting legal problems, but is also a sign of the changing economics around fossil fuel development. Assessing ratepayers for the massive cost of this pipe dream never made sense. We hope this signals a deepened commitment to renewable energy in the face of climate change.”

Virginia Conservation Network released a statement praising the hard work and commitment that environmental advocates put into ensuring the pipeline did not move forward.

“Today’s announcement that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will no longer be constructed shows that Virginia is at the end of the fossil fuel era and well on its way to powering our homes and businesses with 100% clean energy. This win comes after years of advocacy and organizing and shows that the movement for bold climate action and environmental justice is stronger than ever,” said VCN executive director Mary Rafferty. 

“Thanks to policy wins such as the Virginia Clean Economy Act and the Environmental Justice Act – projects that contribute to climate change and take advantage of low-income communities and communities of color are simply no longer viable. We continue to have a lot of work to do in our continued efforts to fight climate change and restore environmental injustice – but today’s win is a huge step in the right direction,” continued Rafferty.

Virginia League of Conservation Voters Executive Director Michael Town released a statement on behalf of the organization agreeing with the decision to cancel.

“The Atlantic Coast Pipeline was never needed and never viable. Its effective defeat today is a huge victory for Virginia’s environment, for environmental justice, and a testament to the power of grassroots action, the hundreds of driven, determined, frontline advocates who never stopped fighting this misguided project. With this pipeline out of the way, Virginia’s clean energy future is that much closer,” said Town.

American Petroleum Institute President and CEO Mike Sommers and North America’s Building Trades Unions President Sean McGarvey issued a joint statement after the energy companies canceled construction following years of delays. 

The cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline sets America back by denying working families businesses access to affordable and cleaner U.S. natural gas and halting thousands of middle-class sustaining jobs.

Like too many shovel-ready projects before it, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline faced legal and permitting challenges waged without merit by activists, and these challenges ultimately cost Americans along its route the environmental, employment, and economic benefits that modern pipeline projects bring.

American Petroleum Institute President and CEO Mike Sommers; North America’s Building Trades Unions President Sean McGarvey

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