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Opposition to pipeline continues

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People participate in a protest against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline on Dec. 1, 2018, at Old Bailey Highway in Spring Hope.

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BY LINDELL JOHN KAY
Staff Writer

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Rocky Mount residents are joining a chorus of statewide voices decrying the proposed interstate natural gas pipeline through Nash County.

Anna Lamb, speaking at the most recent City Council meeting, asked the council to reverse course on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a 42-inch natural gas pipeline planned to run about 600 miles from West Virginia to eastern North Carolina. The council announced support of the pipeline in June 2016.

Lamb is asking the council to pass a new resolution against the ACP.

Lamb said the council should commit to exploring renewable energy solutions that would meet the energy needs of a growing city without the dangers to the environment that comes with natural gas.

The demand for natural gas has dramatically changed since the project’s inception and much of the project’s original justification has evaporated — especially in light of increased affordability of renewable energy options, Lamb said, quoting a recent report by Oil Change International and the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

“Stop choosing profits over people,” Lamb said.

Resident Kim Koo said the pipeline, which is owned by Duke Energy, is two years behind schedule and $2 billion over budget.

“Given Duke Energy’s propensity to pass costs off to its customers like the cleaning of the coal ash pits and pushing to pass Senate Bill 559, there’s no question that the cost of the pipeline misadventure will be passed on to utility customers like you and I,” Koo said.

Koo said natural gas adds to climate change and global warming. She said the pipeline will cross countless farmlands and waterways and lead to possible gas line explosions like the 2009 fatal explosion at ConAgra in Garner and earlier this year in downtown Durham.

Duke and Dominion, which own 95 percent of the pipeline, are confident they will win current legal fights and finish construction of the pipeline, said Donald Raikes, senior vice president for gas transmission operations in Dominion’s Gas Infrastructure Group.

Speaking at a recent gas utility conference, Raikes said he believes the U.S. Supreme Court will rule in Dominion’s favor and allow the company to complete the pipeline through the Appalachian Trail.

Jim Warren at N.C. Warn said the pipeline would cost the state $20 billion, impair the state economy and worsen climate effects. He joins the Energy Justice N.C. Coalition in urging Gov. Roy Cooper, a Nash County native, to stop the bleeding.

According to Warren, analysis shows the top selling point for the pipeline — gas for new industry — is a cruel hoax being played on Cooper’s constituents.

The coalition has contended Duke and Dominion Energy have lied to economically depressed counties along the proposed route by promising natural gas for new industry while planning to use nearly all of the piped-in natural gas in Duke’s own power plants.

“The promise of new industry and jobs has been the lead selling point for the ACP by local and state politicians — including Cooper — and economic developers since the project began,” Warren said. “However, an analysis of federal documents by coalition member NC WARN shows that Duke and Dominion never planned to make gas available for industry along the eight-county route and no such delivery points are planned.”

N.C. WARN has estimated that several billion dollars already have been spent although construction is less than 5 percent complete.

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