“Fracking” in NC is now less of a threat, with natural gas prices too low for drillers to bother with NC’s meager natural gas reserves. However, the next wave of damage by the natural gas industry is the mad dash to build pipelines. Given the many impacts gas pipeline projects can have on communities, with little or no jobs or other benefits to impacted residents, FrackFreeNC realized that we must share knowledge and prepare to challenge unneeded, risky gas pipelines.
What’s Driving the Pipeline Building Boom?
Initially, it appeared to make economic sense to build pipelines to carry gas from highly productive shale formations to areas with little or no gas availability. However, many of us are aware this would actually increase the fracking that has been so damaging to water, air and land in communities, especially in West Virginia. The current plans for gas pipelines far outstrip the need for gas supplies in many areas, and probably even exceed the supply that would be available from shale formations in the coming years! Along with fracking itself, pipeline leaks are a major source of methane, a very powerful greenhouse gas, and have accelerated climate change.
So, why build? It turns out that pipeline companies, such as Piedmont Natural Gas, PSNC and Dominion Energy see this as a very secure source of profits. Electric utilities like Duke Energy and Dominion are joining the party. When the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approves projects, pipeline and utility companies can receive as high as a 14% rate of return (profit) on their pipelines, recovering construction costs PLUS profit from their ratepayers! FERC doesn’t do detailed reviews of the long term need for a pipeline or supply, so approvals can force ratepayers to pay for construction costs and profit, even if the pipeline isn’t needed!
The ACP—A Pipeline That’s Costly, Unneeded and Dangerous
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a 42 inch, highly pressurized pipeline starting at the southern end of the Marcellus shale in West Virginia, would take gas extracted in severely impacted communities and move it through VA and 8 counties in NC, ending near Lumberton. Only 18 permanent jobs would be created, only large industries would be able to tap in to the pipeline, and there probably wouldn’t be enough gas to fill planned pipelines anyway.
Recent studies have shown that: 1) it’s utility customers who would pay the $5 Billion cost of construction even if the pipeline is under-utilized [insert link to Cathy Kunkel’s study)
2) there’s simply no need for more gas pipelines to the southeast US![insert link to the Synapse Study]
3) recent, hastily built pipelines have more failures than any pipelines built since before 1940!
Get involved, to protect communities, landowners, utility ratepayers, and the environment!