Pipeline targets Northampton

Published 11:28 am Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC, (Atlantic) project is growing and Northampton County is among the benefactors of that growth.

On Monday, Atlantic announced plans to construct two office buildings in eastern North Carolina, including its operations center in Northampton County, to support the pipeline.

Last week, Atlantic made public its intentions award grants to three Northampton County organizations to recruit and retain teachers, provide support for a volunteer library and support after-school and summer programs for schoolchildren.

As for the Operations Center, Bruce McKay, senior policy adviser for Dominion, one of the Atlantic partners, made the announcement at Monday’s North Carolina Chamber of Commerce’s Energy and Environmental Management Conference.

The first building will be the ACP’s operations center in Northampton County. It will share the site of the proposed pipeline’s compressor station, which will be the only ACP compressor station in the state. The new facility will be approximately 6,600 square feet and will contain offices and conference rooms for nine full-time employees. Together, the office and compressor station will employ about 15-20 full-time employees.

“Atlantic’s decision to place its operations center in Northampton County is impressive and certainly welcomed,” said Gary Brown, executive director of the Northampton County Economic Development Commission. “The addition of these full-time jobs to a county whose unemployment rate is 1.5 percent higher than the state average is huge.

“The project is critically important in serving the energy needs of residents, business and industry in the state and region, present and future,” Brown continued. “We appreciate the opportunity to be a part of that, and the trust they have placed in us.”

Fannie Greene, chairman of the Northampton County Board of Commissioners, said, “Northampton County is very proud to be chosen by Dominion as the location for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline operations center. We look forward to continuing a strong and beneficial relationship as the project moves forward.”

The second office building will be located in Smithfield, N.C., at one of the nine Metering and Regulating (M&R) stations that will be part of the ACP. The facility will be approximately 2,600 square feet and will contain offices and a conference room for five full-time employees.

“Both Johnston County and the Town of Selma are delighted to welcome an office of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline,” said Cheryl Oliver, Mayor of Selma. “This is an important project for Johnston County, eastern North Carolina and our state as a whole, and we are proud to support it.”

As for the grants, Greene confirmed the Atlantic awards, noting that the awards demonstrate Atlantic’s involvement as a responsible and proactive corporate citizen in the region. The grants were awarded to:

Northampton County Education Foundation, $10,000 for teacher recruitment and retention with Northampton County Public Schools;

Garysburg Volunteer Public Library, $5,000 for operations support and Garysburg Community Center program; and

Creek Development Corporation, a youth services non-profit organization based in Rich Square, $7,500 to support after-school and summer programs for youth and the King’s Kitchen hot meals initiative.

Greene commented “Last year, Commissioners Joe Barrett and Robert Carter traveled to northern Virginia to inspect a compressor station similar to the one planned for construction in Northampton County, and were involved in in-depth conversations with project officials. Commissioner Virginia Spruill, who also serves on the Economic Development Commission, and Commissioner Chester Deloatch have been advocates for the project from the start, understanding the tremendous positive impact the project will have in strengthening our tax base. These grant awards are simply a great example of the indirect benefits Atlantic brings to our community, and the awards are greatly appreciated.”

Northampton County Manager Kimberly Turner stated that “this is a great opportunity where a partnership with Northampton County and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline has provided grant funds to much needed programs in our County for a worthy cause.”

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline project is an approximately 550-mile interstate natural gas pipeline that would serve multiple public utilities and their growing energy needs in Virginia and North Carolina. By 2022, the ACP is projected to bring more than $1.3 million in tax revenue to Northampton County, more than $1.1 million annually to Johnston County and about $6 million annually to North Carolina as a whole.

Dominion, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas and AGL Resources formed Atlantic to build and own the proposed pipeline. Pending regulatory approval, construction is expected to begin in the second half of 2016 and the pipeline is expected to be in service in the fourth quarter of 2018.

The ACP project would be capable of delivering up to 1.5 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas to be used to generate electricity as well as heat homes and run local businesses. The underground pipeline project would facilitate cleaner air, increase reliability and security of natural gas supplies, and provide a significant economic boost in Virginia and North Carolina.

For more information about the ACP, visit the company’s website at www.dom.com/acpipeline.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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