Opponents ask governor to block pipeline


Staff Writer

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Nash Stop the Pipeline has joined 30 other groups calling on Gov. Roy Cooper to acknowledge the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is harmful to the environment and local economies.

The organizations, many members of which claim they would be directly impacted by the pipeline, are asking Cooper to rescind key permits in light of a recent stop work order issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Aaron Ruby, spokesman for pipeline builder Dominion Energy, said the pipeline is critical to the economic and environmental future of the region and delaying the construction of the infrastructure will force consumers and businesses to pay higher energy costs.

“The Atlantic Coast Pipeline has been the most thoroughly reviewed infrastructure project in the history of our region,” Ruby said. “The recent action by the courts and FERC are further evidence of this unprecedented scrutiny and the high standard that is being applied to this project.”

The pipeline opposition groups are also requesting Cooper, a native of Nash County, to visit areas in the path of the pipeline, which runs through eight North Carolina counties, including Nash.

“While the groups support Governor Cooper’s strong opposition to off-shore drilling, they note he has been nearly silent on the major on-shore pipeline that will disproportionately impact Native American, African-American and poor residents along the ACP route, including rural Nash County, where his father wrote of his values learned by living 'Between the Creeks,'” said Hope Taylor, a representative of Clean Water for North Carolina.

The letter, co-signed by Marvin Winstead of Nash Stop the Pipeline and nearly three dozen other groups, emphasizes Cooper's connection to Nash County.

“We released a report on the potential 'blast or incineration zone' impacts all along the ACP route, but particularly at 24 identified 'high consequence areas.' Those areas included a portion of Nash County close to where your family lived, and we brought you images of the blast and evacuation zones overlaid on Nash County communities,” the letter states.

On Jan. 26, the state Division of Water Quality gave its thumbs up to the pipeline. That was the same day the governor's office announced a $58 million memorandum of understanding with Dominion and Duke Energy for education and economic improvements projects along the pipeline route.

Robie Goins of Eco-Robeson and Belinda Joyner of Concerned Citizens of Northampton County, representing the two poorest counties along the pipeline route, said they have multiple pipelines running through their counties, but job creation is an illusion.

“Where are the jobs?” Goins asked “What have these pipelines done for us?”