City receives pipeline update

Published 10:23 pm Saturday, May 5, 2018

Staff members from Dominion Virginia Power were in attendance at City Council’s work session on Wednesday to give them an update on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

The pipeline construction, in regards to the lateral line going through Suffolk, will begin in October of this year, and they will begin to bring equipment out in early 2019 to start laying the pipe.

“We have already cut down some trees and laid them down, but actual clearing won’t start until October,” said project manager Colin Owens.

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A bulk of the presentation to the City Council outlined the benefits that the pipeline will bring to the city as well as the state. After the completion of the pipeline, the availability of natural gas will make Suffolk more attractive for potential companies, Owens said, which should lead to economic growth in the area.

Financial growth will also occur from the tax payments from the new pipeline. In 2022, the tax payment will equal $980,000, according to Dominion. According to its website, Suffolk will see a total tax revenue from the pipeline of $6.4 million from 2018 through 2025.

“This is a project that staff is excited about. We need natural gas in Hampton Roads,” said City Manager Patrick Roberts.

The construction alone is bringing $2.7 billion in economic activity to the state, the company estimates.

The pipeline is also bringing in a significant amount of jobs for the construction process. Construction will bring in close to 18,000 jobs, but 50 percent of the skilled workers will come from local union halls, according to Owens.

While there will be fewer jobs once construction finishes, the operation of the pipeline will generate 2,200 jobs.

Bringing natural gas throughout Virginia also means more energy savings. The state will save $377 million annually because of the pipeline, according to Owens.

After the presentation, Councilman Mike Duman asked what the city’s involvement was with the pipeline.

The city was invited by the state to be involved in the permitting, construction and inspection process, according to Roberts.

The city is currently negotiating a franchise agreement with the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to avoid any conflicts should construction interfere with the pipeline. A franchise agreement would give the city a mechanism to regulate the pipeline on land and rights-of-way the city owns. This advice came from the city attorney.