By Astrid Hacker, Staff Writer
Published in print Sept. 10, 2014
The proposed natural gas pipeline, said to cost $5 billion and stretch from West Virginia to North Carolina, has produced an outrage among landowners along the Southeast region who fear that its presence could contaminate the waters while decreasing the value of their homes and deterring tourists. Duke Energy and Dominion Resources along with other partners have made plans to have this pipeline approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission no later that 2016 and up and running by 2018.
The pipeline known as the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will stretch 550 miles. The purpose of this project is to do away with the use of coal, one of the most important fuels for electric power in the nation, in an effort to popularize the use of natural gas. In recent years the use of natural gas in the nation for electricity has increased due to the belief that it is affordable and cleaner for the atmosphere.
According to the Greensboro News and Record, “Utilities prefer having diverse sources of fuel to reduce shortages and price spikes that can arise in terms of high demand, such as hot summers or cold winters.” It was also stated that the “demand for natural gas for electric power generation, heating and manufacturing is expected to continue to rise.”
The regulations that have been placed on clean air and clean water are said to make the future burning of coal nearly impossible. Part of this is due to the fact that natural gas doesn’t give off nearly the amount of toxins as coal and emits half the amount of carbon dioxide, which is said to have a direct correlation to the climate change.
Dr. William Markham, a professor in the Environmental Studies department, was unavailable for an interview however; he did mention that though he was not well versed on the subject as he is about “the fracking dispute or the coal ash spill in NC”, he had seen signs addressing the coming pipeline on a Virginia hiking trip.
Even with proposed benefits that will come from using natural gas to power the nations energy, not unlike most things beneficial, natural gas comes with its own set of issues. As previously mentioned, natural gas gives off less carbon dioxide. However, as reported in the News and Record, when leaked or “otherwise released directly into the atmosphere it heats the planet much faster than carbon dioxide.” In addition to this problem “the drilling technique that has led to increased U.S. supplies, called fracking, has raised concerns about water use, water contamination and other issues.”
The laying of this pipeline has spiked both protest and praise, which mirror the pros and cons of increased natural gas usage.