Letter: Thanks to those who fought Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Duke and Dominion have announced that they will halt construction on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which was to be 600 miles long, from West Virginia through Virginia and North Carolina. Despite the utilities’ victory at the U.S. Supreme Court last month, the “unacceptable layer of uncertainty and anticipated delays” were making the pipeline financially unfeasible for the two utilities. They declared it was “no longer a prudent use of shareholder capital.” Indeed, renewables are a much better investment!

This costly and unnecessary pipeline would have carried climate-wrecking fracked gas from West Virginia. Despite the utilities’ claims that this gas was for local use, most of it was slated for export to Europe. Already, liquefied natural gas compressing stations were being built. The ACP should have been completed by 2018, but numerous court challenges delayed its construction, and most recent estimates were for completion in 2022. The pipeline’s estimated cost had ballooned from $4.5 billion to $8 billion, to be passed along to ratepayers.

It is a victory for the farmers and other landowners in Robeson County, who have been fighting the pipeline for the past six years. In this largely Indigenous and African American part of Eastern North Carolina, Duke and Dominion were seizing people’s land by eminent domain. The routine leakages and planned releases of methane, and the 1-mile blast zone all around the pressurized pipeline, were putting these low-income communities of color at risk. Duke’s and Dominion’s decision signals the uncertain future of fracked gas at this time of pandemic, climate crisis and economic upheaval. My gratitude goes out to all the activists who have struggled against the pipeline. We can all breathe easier knowing that fracked gas has suffered a significant setback!

— Cathy Holt


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