RALEIGH — A campaign featuring personal, local stories has been launched to promote the the construction of a 600-mile-long natural gas pipeline that would begin in West Virginia and end in Pembroke.
EnergySure Coalition’s campaign in favor of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is designed to highlight “the significant economic and environmental benefits that this important infrastructure will bring to the state,” according to a release issued by EnergySure. Local elected governmental officials also will speak about how families, business owners and communities will benefit from the pipeline.
The campaign will feature television, radio, print and website advertising, along with messages on EnergySure’s social media channels, according to the release.
EnergySure North Carolina is described on its website as a “group of businesses, organizations and individuals that is standing up for reliable energy in our state.”
The Robeson County Board of Commissioners is an EnergySure member, according to Tammie McGee, a spokesperson for EnergySure and Duke Energy.
“The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is essential to our future success and to the well-being of the citizens we serve,” said Norris Tolson, president and CEO of the Carolina Gateway Partnership. “If we cannot get adequate supplies of natural gas, our economic development efforts will be less fruitful and we will not be able to contribute to a better quality of life for this generation and generations to come.”
“Carolina Gateway Partnership is public-private industrial recruitment agency dedicated to the economic development of the Eastern North Carolina counties of Nash and Edgecombe,” according to the group’s website.
In the EnergySure release, North Carolina is described one of the fastest growing populations and economies in the nation with a demand for natural gas to generate power that is projected to more than double over the next 20 years. North Carolina has only one natural gas line that is nearly fully tapped and unable to meet future energy needs.
“The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is critical to meet the energy needs of our rapidly growing state and economy,” said Cathy Scott, executive director of the Halifax County Economic Development Commission. “This project will help deliver cleaner, more reliable and affordable energy to families like mine, while empowering Eastern North Carolina to attract thousands of jobs, particularly to small, rural communities that desperately need them.”
Not everyone agrees. The ACP has been the focus of numerous public forums during which the pipeline’s need was questioned. Many people also have expressed concerns about the pipeline’s effect on the residents of the areas through which it will pass and on the environment.
Virtually every aspect of the proposed pipeline, including public safety, environmental and cultural degradation, and lack of economic benefits, were questioned during a public forum in early August at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
“There are real impacts on the people and land,” said Eddie Moore, a Prospect resident. “How will they protect the people of the Prospect community, who are served by a volunteer fire department?”
“My family is affected by this project,” said Robie Goins, who lives near where the pipeline would end. “Four hundred and seventy-four acres in Robeson County are affected. The pipeline crosses Bear Swamp, Burnt Swamp and Big Marsh Swamp, tributaries of the Lumber River.”