I have a couple of things to say in response to Atieno Bird’s letter in the last Gazette. Bird listed a lot of reasons the Atlantic Coast Pipeline would be bad for citizens of Virginia and West Virginia. But a question comes up on the part about it being unnecessary. Why would this company spend billions building a pipeline if there is no reason to think there is a need for the gas at the end point?
Well…two reasons. One is that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gives pipe builders the right to charge their customers for every penny of costs—and 14 to 15 percent profit on top. That’s a nicer profit than they’re likely to make doing anything else. State agencies can disallow this, but they probably won’t—unless we make enough of a stink about it.
Then there’s the other reason, something rarely if ever mentioned on their Draft or Final Environmental Impact Statements, or in public hearings, or in the sales pitches of government officials, who for $ome rea$on nearly always support these projects. But those who attend gas industry conferences hear this word all the time: export. THAT’S how they hope to turn around a failing industry and make a profit—by accessing higher prices abroad.
Can they get away with seizing people’s property by eminent domain, when the “public need” is vaguely overseas, merely hoped-for markets amid plenty of competition from other gas-producing nations? Thing is, they can disguise it, like this: they reroute gas from an existing pipeline to the export terminal, thus creating a local need which they can then supply with the new pipeline. So you see, there really is a public need for this pipeline, as long as by “public” you mean “Dominion and its shareholders.”