Pipeline approved, Governor promises future of clean energy


Photo of Roy Cooper, the Governor of North Carolina. By Chris Seward – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=54610787

On Jan. 26, Governor Roy Cooper made an announcement that North Carolina is dedicated to renewable and clean energy, alongside the approval of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline by the NC Department of Environmental Quality.

“My goal for North Carolina is complete reliance on renewable energy, which builds a cleaner environment and a stronger economy,” Governor Cooper said in a statement released on his website. “During the time it takes to get us to a full renewable energy future, we will still need to rely on other fuels as we move away from the pollution of coal-fired power plants.”

Pipelines like the ACP function to carry natural gas across far distances. The ACP proposed pathway runs across 600 miles of land in West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina, and cuts through waterways.

Supporters of the pipeline say it is entirely safe under current regulations. The project is funded by Dominion Power and Duke Energy and has been approved by the Federal Energy Regulation Commission.

The Dominion Power page on the pipeline states that the project is safe. “The FERC and other agencies carefully analyzed all potential impacts to the region’s land, air, water, cultural and historic resources and wildlife,” the website read.

The FERC determined that they believe benefits outweighed any risks.

Opposition to the pipeline say it is an unnecessary environmental risk for those who live in the area it passes through and would contribute further to a dependence on fossil fuels.

Southern Environmental Law Center Senior Attorney, Gudrun Thompson, is one of many fighting the pipeline.

“Not only is it a risky and dangerous project for our waterways and forests but the fracked gas from this pipeline is not needed by our region,” said Thompson in an email interview. “This pipeline would harm our environment, lock us further into reliance on fossil fuel, and the developers will try to pass the cost of this unnecessary project on to utility customers.”

In addition to the Southern Environmental Law Center, citizens have also been protesting the building of the pipeline. Fifteen were arrested on Feb. 2 at a sit-in at Governor Cooper’s office. They were charged with second-degree trespassing, according to the Associated Press.

Building for the pipeline is expected to begin in spring of 2018.