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Letter to the Editor: Pipeline is a not a risk worth taking

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Thursday, February 1, 2018

I am writing as a lifelong Nash County resident to urge the people of Rocky Mount to say “No!” to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which, if completed, will run through eight North Carolina counties, including Nash and Wilson. The reasons are simple: It’s bad for your pocketbook, your health and the land.

First, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a financial ripoff. While Duke Energy claims that the pipeline’s purpose is to get more gas to customers, less than 10 percent will go to customers; the rest will go to Duke’s own enterprises. What customers like you and me get will cost more than ever. A few jobs will be created – and we certainly need jobs – but almost all of them will be temporary, several months long at best. While Duke makes a 15 percent return on investment, we will foot the bill.

The pipeline is also unsafe. Over 8,000 pipeline accidents in the U.S. have killed more than 500 people and caused nearly $7 billion in property damage in the last 40 years. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is bad news for clean water and air. Natural gas is still fracked gas. Crossing almost 2,000 waterways across three states, the pipeline will threaten the Tar and Neuse rivers that we depend on for drinking water. The damage from fracking, oil spills and other pipelines has been catastrophic for clean water. How can we trust Duke Energy to protect our clean water when Duke has been on federal probation since 2015 for clean water violations?

Fracked gas is often promoted as ‘clean burning.’ While gas is cleaner than coal, it’s still a fossil fuel. The pipeline’s emissions will equal those of 20 coal plants. North Carolinians will pay the price for this so-called ‘cleaner energy’ with higher rates of cancer, respiratory illness, cardiovascular disease and birth defects. Other areas, many of them poor, already have. It’s no coincidence that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s projected path runs through the poorest counties in the state, Native American lands and areas with large non-white populations.

Eventually, any economic growth promised by the construction of the pipeline will become meaningless, as the effects of land seizures, health crises, environmental disaster and financial hardship leave us worse off than before. Bottom line: Duke Energy wants us to risk our health and safety, our property, our finances, and our state for gas that won’t benefit us. The evidence is clear: the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is not a risk worth taking.

LAURA TODD

Nash County

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