As the elected mayors of cities and towns across Eastern North Carolina, we write to you in support of a vital economic opportunity for our state, our communities and the tens of thousands of citizens we proudly represent.
As leaders of our communities, we have been involved with the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) project for over two years, staying informed and up to date every step of the way. Together with hundreds of state and federal lawmakers, regional economic developers, business organizations and thousands of ordinary citizens, we proudly support this vitally important infrastructure project.
There are five reasons why we strongly support this project and why we believe it will directly benefit the communities and people of Eastern North Carolina — jobs, investment, economic development, lower energy bills, and cleaner energy.
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline promises to breathe new life into our region’s economy. Eastern North Carolina desperately needs new jobs and new investment. The ACP brings both. This project will create thousands of good-paying construction jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in new capital investment. These jobs and investment will have a hugely positive impact on our working families, local businesses and the overall vitality of our communities.
Over the long term, the pipeline promises to revitalize our manufacturing economy by providing the energy infrastructure new industries need to locate in our region. Because our existing pipelines are fully tapped and unable to support new industries, we’re losing out on these opportunities. With a new pipeline in place, our region will finally be able to compete for the new industries we desperately need to create jobs, contribute to our local tax base, and rebuild our communities.
In addition to revitalizing our economy and providing the energy that powers our homes and businesses, the pipeline will also lead to more than $130 million in annual energy cost savings for all North Carolinians. Lower energy costs will ease the burden on our working families and help local businesses grow. Every dollar our businesses save in energy costs is a dollar that can be re-invested into new jobs, new equipment and new facilities.
Not only will this project revive our economy, it will also improve the environmental quality of our communities. Natural gas generates half the carbon emissions of coal, and only a tiny fraction of other emissions that impact our air quality. That is why Duke Energy and other utilities are switching from coal to this cleaner-burning fuel. This new pipeline infrastructure will accelerate this transition, resulting in cleaner air across our region.
The project has been thoroughly scrutinized over two and half years by more than a dozen state and federal agencies. These agencies have carefully scrutinized every detail of the project to ensure it protects the environment and public safety. The companies proposing the pipeline have also gone to great lengths to minimize the impacts, making hundreds of route adjustments to avoid environmental resources and sensitive features of individual properties. We have faith in the process, and we feel assured that the project will be built and operated in a way that respects the environment and safety of our communities.
It is time for Eastern North Carolina to grow and prosper once again. It is time for our young people to have a hopeful outlook on the future, where jobs and economic opportunities no longer pass us by. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a major part of that vision, and we encourage you to join us in our support.
This op-ed piece was submitted by the following mayors: Greg Cummings, Pembroke; John McNeill, Red Springs; Nat Roberton, Fayetteville; Roy Bell, Garysburg; William Gossip, Jackson; Emery Doughtie, Roanoke Rapids; and Linwood Parker, Four Oaks.