It’s Time to Voice Your Support for the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline

Atlantic-Sunrise map
Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline map – click for larger version

Now is the time to roar and let the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) know that you support the Williams Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project. Atlantic Sunrise is part of the Transco (Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Corporation) system. It is a $2.1 billion project consisting of compression and looping of the Transco Leidy Line in Pennsylvania, along with a greenfield (brand new) pipeline segment of 178 miles, called the Central Penn Line, connecting the northeastern Marcellus producing region to the Transco mainline near Station 195 in southeastern Pennsylvania (see Atlantic Sunrise Will Pump $1.6B into Economy, Create 8K Jobs). We’ve written numerous stories about Atlantic Sunrise, and irrational opposition to it from places like Lebanon County, PA. Earlier this month FERC issued the Atlantic Sunrise project a positive Environmental Impact Statement (see Williams’ Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Gets Positive EIS from FERC). That’s a very good sign that the project is about to be approved and for construction to begin. But there’s one more hurdle. FERC will conduct a series of public hearings (that we refer to as freak shows for anti-fossil fuelers), along with receiving written public comment. The irrational antis have cranked up their (very few) supporters to flood FERC with negative comments. Atlantic Sunrise will create $1.6 BILLION in investments to build it–jobs, materials, local companies–everyone benefits! When complete, the pipeline will provide enough natural gas to heat and power 7 million homes. WE NEED THIS PIPELINE. It’s now time for those of us who support safe pipelines like Atlantic Sunrise to make our voices heard. Here’s three things you can do to show your support…

1. Attend an upcoming FERC public meeting to voice your support of Atlantic Sunrise.

Here’s where they are happening, and when:

2. By June 27, 2016, sign this letter to FERC expressing your support during the public comment period of the DEIS review.

Here’s a FERC eComment Guide to help you:

FERC eComment Guide

3. By June 27, 2016, submit your own supportive comment directly to FERC.

Click on box in top right-hand corner of page to register to submit a comment, and use Docket No. CP15-138-000.

4. BONUS: You can also sign up for important updates on Atlantic Sunrise.

It’s important to get the facts out concerning Atlantic Sunrise. Below are key facts about the project that you can use–either in your comments or as you talk about the project with friends and family.

The Need For And Benefits Of Atlantic Sunrise

* Natural gas fuels a third of U.S. electric power generation and heats half of the country’s homes — and those numbers are climbing.

* But despite historic lows in natural gas prices, America’s lack of natural gas pipeline capacity has prevented most consumers from fully realizing the advantages of this abundant, reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible resource.

* Atlantic Sunrise will help solve this problem by adding much needed pipeline capacity.

* Additionally, Atlantic Sunrise will: Provide reliable, affordable and clean energy to up to 7 million homes AND drive $1.6 billion in new wages, revenues and investments in our regional economy.

Collaborative Approach

* The Federal Environmental Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) draft Environmental Impact Statement recently concluded that Atlantic Sunrise will have “less than significant” environmental impact.

* FERC’s environmental evaluation of Atlantic Sunrise has been thorough and comprehensive.

* More than a quarter of the total planned pipeline route (55 miles) will be along existing right-of-way.

* Since Atlantic Sunrise was introduced in 2014, Williams adjusted much of the original project route based on feedback from landowners and other stakeholders.

* FERC’s DEIS positively reflects Williams’ efforts to collaborate with other stakeholders to design this project in a way that minimizes environmental impacts.

* The DEIS estimates that construction activities will generate nearly $17 million in additional state taxes.

Reducing Carbon Emissions

* Pennsylvania’s natural gas boom has reduced total CO2 emissions in the commonwealth’s power sector by about 30 since about 2005.

* President Obama’s proposed Clean Power Plan recognizes the important role natural gas is going to play in our country’s energy portfolio. Under the federal plan, natural gas will provide the largest share of power generation by 2030.

* Thanks to natural gas, the United States leads the world in carbon-emissions reduction.

* During the past five years, electric generation from coal has fallen from 48 percent to less than a third due to the popularity of natural gas. As a result, CO2 emission levels have dropped to 20-year lows.

* In 2015, natural gas overtook coal as the top source of U.S. electric power generation; 31 percent of electric power generation comes natural gas, and 30 percent from coal, according to the U.S. Energy Department.

* Natural gas emits half the carbon dioxide of coal to generate the same amount of electricity.

* According to the Energy Information Administration, even under the most optimistic scenarios for renewable energy growth, oil and natural gas will still be needed, supplying 60 percent of our energy needs by 2040.

* To continue emissions progress, as well as to reduce consumer costs, Pennsylvania must prioritize natural glass infrastructure.

Natural Gas – Complementing And Enabling Renewable Energy

Characteristics of natural gas – its reliability, affordability, flexibility and efficiency – help make the increased use of renewables (which cost more and are less reliable) a reality. Because natural gas is such a reliable, inexpensive fuel source, it allows utilities to blend in higher capital cost and less predictable renewables to their portfolios without raising costs for the consumer.

It is not possible to meet our country’s energy needs with renewables alone.

Significant Economic Benefits

* Pennsylvania’s economy has benefitted greatly from natural gas development.

* Despite a current down cycle, Pennsylvanians have ridden a wave of economic prosperity thanks to the commonwealth’s natural gas industry, which has supported approximately 100,000 jobs and has contributed billions to Pennsylvania’s economy.

* Atlantic Sunrise will help revive Pennsylvania’s natural-gas-fueled economic momentum.

* Atlantic Sunrise is a multi-billion-dollar private investment in the region, providing an opportunity to put thousands of Pennsylvanians to work.

* Researchers at Penn State University forecast Atlantic Sunrise will directly employ approximately 2,300 people in 10 Pennsylvania counties during the project’s construction phase, resulting in an estimated $1.6 billion increase economic activity in the project area.

* The 2,300 employees would stimulate the local and regional economies in the project area and support an additional 6,000 indirect and induced jobs.

* Atlantic Sunrise is also expected to generate an additional $245 million in labor income in the project area during construction.

* An estimated 15 full-time permanent positions will be needed to operate and maintain the pipeline, compressor stations, and related facilities.

* Atlantic Sunrise supports a segment of the energy industry that has has supported up to 72,000 Pennsylvania jobs and contributed more than $34 billion to the commonwealth’s economy.

* Only through responsible expansion of Pennsylvania’s pipeline infrastructure can we grow markets and usher in meaningful economic recovery.

Key Infrastructure Needed

* Atlantic Sunrise will immediately become a key piece of infrastructure in Pennsylvania.

* Despite low commodity prices, the Marcellus Shale remains one of the country’s most active production areas, accounting for the majority of the nation’s total growth in natural gas production (source: EIA). In fact, the Marcellus produces more natural gas than all of Canada.

* The biggest problem is the region doesn’t have the necessary pipeline network to connect Pennsylvania natural gas with critical markets.

* It has been estimated that approximately 25-30 percent of the Marcellus wells drilled to date still do not have pipeline takeaway capacity. Atlantic Sunrise will help change that.

* Project will connect abundant, cost-effective Marcellus supply with gas markets in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern states.

* Williams’ existing Transco pipeline (to which Atlantic Sunrise will connect) provides a third of the gas consumed in Pennsylvania.

* Future Power is building a $300 million power plant in Good Spring (Schuylkill Country) that was going to be fueled by coal, but thanks to Atlantic Sunrise, will instead be fueled by cleaner natural gas.

Trusted And Responsible Builder And Operator Of Energy Infrastructure

* Williams is a Fortune 500 company that designs, builds, owns and operates critical natural gas infrastructure throughout the U.S. and Canada.

* For nearly 110 years, much of the country has relied on Williams to safely deliver natural gas to millions of homes and businesses that need it.

* Williams, through its Transco network and gathering and processing operations, has a long-standing and significant presence in this particular region.

* In Pennsylvania, Williams has a regional office (Pittsburgh) and field offices in the southwestern and northeastern parts of the commonwealth. Williams owns, operates and maintains thousands of miles of pipeline and several compressor stations throughout the Keystone State.

* Williams’ operations in Pennsylvania directly employ about 630 people, whose annual wages (before tax and excluding benefits) average nearly $88,000. This does not take into account those employed by Atlantic Sunrise partner companies, and Williams’ suppliers and contractors before, during and after project completion.

* Since 2010, Williams employees have volunteered countless hours of their time to Pennsylvania organizations, such as the United Way, and the company has provided nearly $3.5 million in charitable contributions to local
organizations. This is on top of the millions of dollars in the company has provided in network expansion-related contributions.