We have some good news and bad news.
First, the bad. The decision to vacate the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) project is deeply disappointing.
The Independent Oil and Gas Association of West Virginia (IOGAWV) and West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association (WVONGA) had just recently celebrated a U.S. Supreme Court decision that allowed the project to advance, injecting more than $2 billion into our economy.
When the pipeline was progressing, it was supporting more than 17,000 jobs. Wages exceeded $400 million. It was injecting billions into the economy, as supporting industries experienced the economic benefits. The state reported revenue boosts, as tax money helped support education, infrastructure improvements and senior services.
Now, court battles and permitting obstacles have derailed the ACP and have come between hard-working West Virginians and their future. We can’t say if the project will eventually continue, but we do know the process shouldn’t be so arduous.
Other projects – from within the energy, telecommunications and transportation sectors – face similar obstacles and the same outcome. We should all be troubled by that. We urge lawmakers to take urgent action and reform a process that makes prosperity for our state so much harder to achieve.
But, we saw a positive development, too. The announcement that Berkshire Hathaway Energy, a subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s company, is acquiring Dominion Energy’s natural gas transmission and storage business, gives us hope. The move represents a nearly $10 billion investment in the Appalachian Basin. Buffett is betting on us, and that’s a wonderful show of confidence.
IOGAWV and WVONGA are committed to West Virginia. Our industry remains committed to West Virginia. The Berkshire Hathaway announcement is a boon for this state and region, and we remain focused on a prosperous tomorrow as we move forward.