Mayor: Our future is brighter because of this decision
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled in favor of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). In a 7-to-2 ruling, the Supreme Court ruled the Forest Service did not break the law when they approved a vital permit for the natural gas pipeline to cross under a one-tenth of a mile section of the Appalachian Trail. Proponents said 50 other pipelines already cross under the Appalachian Trail. Opponents had argued the Forest Service did not have the permitting authority, only the U.S. Congress. Previously, a federal appeals court had rejected her permit from the Forest Service saying the Appalachian Trail is controlled by the National Park Service.
The 550-mile pipeline will originate in West Virginia and stretch into Robeson County in North Carolina. Its path through Johnston County will be west of I-95 near Kenly and Micro and then east along the Four Oaks and Benson communities. The pipeline is a joint venture of Dominion, Piedmont, Duke Energy and AGL Resources. Originally the cost was projected at $5 billion but has now increased to $8 billion.
After the ruling Selma Mayor Cheryl Oliver said, “I have been a strong supporter of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline for years. My reasons have been straightforward. We need more natural gas in Selma and Johnston County. Our supply is constrained and that’s bad news for our energy bills at home and even worse news for our ability to attract new job creators. As I have stated previously, the majority of Requests for Information that come through our Johnston County Economic Development Office from a variety of industries are requiring access to natural gas.”
“We also stand to benefit immensely just from having the Atlantic Coast Pipeline running out of sight and out of mind under our fields and forests. From 2021-2027 alone Johnston County is estimated to receive over $12.5 million in property tax revenue from the pipeline. That revenue can be used to support additional Economic Development ventures that will improve our quality of life.”
“The Atlantic Coast Pipeline has been delayed time and time again by political forces largely from outside Selma, outside Johnston County, and outside North Carolina altogether. The Supreme Court decision ends those delays. Now the pipeline can be built, thousands of good jobs can be created, and we can get the domestically produced natural gas our economy desperately needs. This is exciting news for Selma and Johnston County. Our future is brighter because of this decision.”
The County of Johnston and most municipalities in the area have adopted resolutions in support of the pipeline back in 2015 and 2016.
Construction is expected to begin this year with completion and the pipeline in service in 2022. Several environmental issues are still being worked out.