Keeping it local

Published 11:02 am Tuesday, September 26, 2017

JACKSON – Things are moving forward for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project set to make its way through Northampton County once construction begins.

Representatives from the energy companies developing the project were on hand here Monday morning to announce the local contractor who will build a regional office near Pleasant Hill for the pipeline.

County Commissioner Fannie Greene opened the event by welcoming local government officials, the Economic Development Commission board, power company representatives, and more to the Cultural and Wellness Center in Jackson.

“Anytime we do something big in Northampton County, it’s a momentous occasion, do you agree,” Greene asked the crowd, who quickly answered in the affirmative. “So this is one of those momentous occasions.”

Though the pipeline will run its course through several counties in North Carolina, Northampton County—more specifically a parcel of land just outside of Pleasant Hill—will be home to both a compressor station as well as a regional office.

“Northampton County is a Tier One county and we need all the support we can get,” Greene said, adding they were all very pleased about the project which has been almost three years in the works now.

Bruce McKay, Senior Energy Policy Director for Dominion Energy, also addressed the crowd to inform them of important information about the pipeline project.

“We’re nearing completion of the permitting phase and will soon begin construction,” McKay said, explaining that they’ve already taken care of a lot of the preparation so construction will begin almost immediately once they get the final approval.

“The project has many benefits to it,” McKay continued to explain, citing both energy and economic benefits. “A lot of this gas will go to power generation in Virginia and North Carolina.”

An important point, McKay noted, was their intention to use local companies and labor whenever possible. McKay then announced that Heaton Construction was awarded the contract to build the regional office.

The Roanoke Rapids-based construction company does a lot of work in both Halifax and Northampton counties, according to Paul Heaton.

“We’re very excited to have been chosen for this project,” Heaton said as he stepped up to the podium. “I’m a big proponent of economic development.”

Heaton also explained the company will reach out to work with local subcontractors as necessary during the office construction. He estimated the approximately 3,000-4,000 square foot building would be constructed in a timely manner since they can do preliminary work right away before official construction is approved.

Having already seen the plans for the building, Heaton said it was well-designed and sturdy. McKay spoke up to note they intend for the office building to be LEED certified silver, which means it will have a focus on energy efficiency and use recycled materials.

Chairman Robert Carter of the Northampton County Commissioners spoke highly of both the pipeline project and the planned construction of the regional office.

“I know they will do their best to make sure this building displays Northampton County,” Carter said.

With the pipeline, compressor station, and regional office, the project is expected to bring Northampton County an estimated $1.6 million annually in property tax revenue by 2022.

“I’m just excited about the fact that this project is going to bring a stream of revenue to Northampton County,” Carter continued. “We want to be frugal with these funds. Make sure they are put to the best interest for the citizens of Northampton County.”

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a collaborative effort between Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas, and Southern Company Gas. It will originate in West Virginia to pump natural gas down through Virginia and North Carolina approximately 600 miles before ending in Robeson County near the South Carolina border.

The pipeline is projected to be in service by late 2019. Once the pipeline is in operation, the compressor station and office in Northampton is expected to provide about 20 new jobs.