Wednesday, September 3, 2014

What McCrory didn't mention in his praise of the new natural-gas pipeline

Posted By on Wed, Sep 3, 2014 at 10:24 AM

On Tuesday Gov. McCrory’s office applauded a new natural-gas pipeline that will “bring hundreds of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars of economic activity to North Carolina.” It was yet another opportunity for the governor to make a major announcment in his effort to “turn North Carolina around” and into a state that welcomes industry at the expense of transparency and, in many cases, the environment.

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline would transport 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day collected from fracking - a word curiously left off McCrory’s press release - the Marcellus and Utica shale basins in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The gas would travel through Virginia and end in Robeson County, North Carolina, which is in the east.

Less than a week ago, Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection released a report that found fracking, which boomed in the state six years ago, has contaminated private drinking wells. News outlets have tried for years to obtain such records from the department, even taking it to court. (Imagine that, a state environmental protection agency hiding information from the public.)

From WIVB in Pennsylvania:

The gas-rich Marcellus Shale lies under large parts of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New York and Ohio. A drilling boom that took off in 2008 has made the Marcellus the most productive natural gas field in the nation, and more than 6,000 shale gas wells have been drilled. That has led to billions of dollars in revenue for companies and landowners, but also to complaints from homeowners about ruined water supplies.

Of course, none of this was mentioned in McCrory’s press release. Also left out of his announcement was just how Dominion Resources, the company behind the pipeline, won the project. In a piece published mere hours before McCrory’s announcement, Esquire revealed that Eric Cantor, the Republican House Majority leader until 31 days ago, accepted $71,650 in campaign donations from Dominion.

In November of last year, before he was ousted, Eric Cantor voted for and publicly applauded the passing of a bill that would expedite Dominion’s permit-seeking process and make sure ground was broken on a fracking deal, like this one, within 12 months.

Two hundred and twenty six House Republicans voted for that bill, the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act, while only 26 Democrats supported it. About 80 energy-industry titans, including Duke, Exxon, Dominion, lobbied for the bill.

Lawmakers continue to use “jobs” as the sexy way of selling fracking and natural gas to the public. But the Atlantic Coast Pipeline would support an industry that continues to mercilessly hurt the environment. Not to mention, the companies behind the project - which would only create 52 permanent jobs, hardly in line with McCrory's "long-term economic development goal" - have lined pockets in Congress.

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