Climate Advocates Denounce McAuliffe Support for Dominion’s Massive ‘Atlantic Coast’ Fracked Gas Pipeline Project
Mega-project, which already faces stiff resistance from Va. landowners, counteracts the governor’s commitment to tackling climate change
RICHMOND—Today, Governor Terry McAuliffe stood next to Dominion Resources CEO Thomas Farrell to announce his support for a major expansion of Dominion’s proposal to build a pipeline to carry fracked natural gas from West Virginia, across central Virginia, to North Carolina. Once called the “Reliability Project,” the new 550-mile, $5 billion proposal is now the joint-venture “Atlantic Coast” pipeline.
Mike Tidwell, executive director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, had the following statement in response:
“Today Governor McAuliffe has made a huge mistake that harms the environment. Barely two months after re-launching the state’s climate change commission, the governor has regretfully embraced a Dominion gas pipeline project that threatens to contribute significantly to the climate crisis. Tom Farrell’s 550-mile, $5 billion pipeline system would incentivize more fracking across the region and contribute to emissions of methane, a powerful heat-trapping gas which, according to growing scientific data, could disrupt the climate on par with coal.
“In supporting this project, Governor McAuliffe is now complicit with Tom Farrell in locking Virginia into a multi-billion-dollar investment in more fossil fuels at a moment when scientists say we must be investing in truly carbon-free wind, solar, and energy efficiency technologies. We’ve come to expect this type of move from Dominion, the state’s top climate polluter and a company that has continually held Virginia back from serious commitments to clean energy. But we’re downright disappointed to see this from Governor McAuliffe.
“In making his announcement, Governor McAuliffe failed to mention the scientific data showing that methane, which leaks from fracking wells and pipelines, is as much as 87 times more powerful than carbon dioxide in heating the atmosphere over a 20-year period. The governor is lining up on the wrong side of farmers and landowners who live along Dominion’s proposed pipeline route and who see this project as a direct threat to their safety and livelihoods. The groundswell of grassroots resistance that Dominion is already facing will surely only grow in response to today’s news.
“Given the urgency of tackling climate change, this is the wrong project at the wrong time. Instead of touting a massive investment in more communities destroyed by fracking wells, divided by pipelines, and wrecked by runaway climate change, Tom Farrell and Gov. McAuliffe should be announcing a full-scale investment in Virginia’s vast and barely tapped clean energy resources.”