A November 18, 2017, article in the Buckhannon WV Record Delta is titled “Pipeline starting April 1.” It begins, “Construction on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project is expected to begin on April 1, 2018, and that is not an April Fool’s joke. Mike Cozad, a third-party contractor for ACP, came to the Upshur County Commission’s weekly meeting Thursday to provide commissioners with a timeline and update on the building of the 42-inch, 600-mile natural gas pipeline that will extend from Harrison County, West Virginia to Robeson County, North Carolina.”
The article notes that out-of-state people working for the ACP or it’s contractors are already arriving, as the vanguard of the expected influx in March 2018. “In the latter part of March, you’ll see a whole lot of people coming in here and getting set up with the anticipated start date (of construction) 1 April 2018. Prior to that, we will be dropping trees, but that’s a much smaller impact – they’re just going out, felling the trees and moving on. …. Each construction spread will be 400 to 600 people, depending on the contractor.”
Also at the County Commissioner’s weekly meeting was April Pierson-Keating, a member of Mountain Lakes Preservation Alliance. She pointed out “a few things that might counter the rosy picture that Dominion (ACP) is painting of this project. There are numerous permits that this pipeline still needs. The certification from FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) is being challenged by several community groups and then lawyer groups that are helping them take the case.”
She reminded the Commissioners (and Mr. Cozad) that North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality has not yet issued Section 401 Water Quality Certification to ACP, and that ACP/Dominion contractors won’t necessarily hire Upshur County workers, but rather, employees from other counties in West Virginia or elsewhere. And, she said, “We believe that the tax money that is going to be coming in and the few jobs that are going to be going to West Virginians are offset by lower property values, damage to the water and long-term damage to our economy in terms of tourism and other things. I’m not asking you to do anything today. I’m just trying to provide a counter and a balance to the happy-dappy, rosy picture and also to let you know that there are a lot of permits outstanding, there are hearings and trials coming up, so the timeline they expect may be pushed back.”
Mr. Cozad, the contractor for the ACP, actually agreed that most benefits would be short term, saying, “The bigger impact is going to be short term, of course, while construction is going on. There will still be some long-term jobs, but she’s correct that the number’s probably not that much. They are intending to hire as many local people as possible. They may come from other counties, but they are, in my mind, local people.”
Few local jobs, especially few long-term jobs – just as we’ve been saying here in Virginia!