Hundreds rally for pipeline

Business owner Bill Kelley said it was time to send a message to Harrisburg and advocated on behalf of moving the Atlantic Sunrise project forward. STAFF PHOTO/STACI WILSON

Business owner Bill Kelley said it was time to send a message to Harrisburg and advocated on behalf of moving the Atlantic Sunrise project forward. STAFF PHOTO/STACI WILSON

A rally in support of moving the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project forward drew nearly 500 people to Shadowbrook in Tunkhannock on Thursday afternoon.
The rally – a combined effort of Cabot Oil & Gas, Southwestern and Williams – drew employees, pipeline workers, business leaders and elected officials in the Marcellus Shale region.
The Atlantic Sunrise project is a $3 billion expansion of the existing Transco natural gas pipeline system, which currently delivers about 40 percent of the natural gas consumed in Pennsylvania. The project was reviewed for two years before being approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in February 2017. It would create a crucial connection between Pennsylvania and consuming markets all along the East Coast.
The project consists of about 180 miles of new greenfield pipe in eight Pennsylvania counties.
Cabot spokesman George Stark said the purpose of the event was to bring people involved in the pipeline together to show how many people are employed in the industry. “It’s really an opportunity to get people out and have their voices heard,” Stark said.
He said that when the Atlantic Sunrise project it built, Cabot will increase its drilling. “That means more people working and local landowners having more opportunities to receive royalties. It benefits the community, industry and landowners,” Stark said.
Rep. Jonathan Fritz (111th) agrees. “Market demand calls for getting this essential resource to market,” he said. “It’s our duty and obligation to help provide clean and affordable energy for consumers, business and industry not only in this region by countrywide.”
State Senator Lisa Baker said the pipeline infrastructure is crucial to allowing industry to grow. She said she often hears from members of the community and businesses who would like access to natural gas in their homes and businesses.
On the stage, Bradford County Commissioner Doug McLinko said his county has 1,000 miles of installed pipelines with no problems occurring from those.
Susquehanna County Commissioner Alan Hall said “We have a lot of gas in Susquehanna County the problem is we can’t get it out of the ground to consumers.”
“We’ve got to get the pipeline in the ground now and get the gas to market,” Hall said. “It will create jobs and provide economic benefits.”
And he added, “There’s no safer way to get the gas out of the ground than a pipeline.”
Wyoming County Commissioner Judy Mead agreed with Hall’s statement about benefits to the community. “It’s out chance to make Pennsylvania one of the top energy producers in the world,” she said and advocated for more access to natural gas local communities.
Stark said, “We need to find our voices. This just not just matter here, it matters across the United States. You make people’s lives better every day.”
Business owner Bill Kelley told the crowd, “We can’t be passive,” as he called for people to sign a petition in support of the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline.
The rally was staged as a call on Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s administration to promptly approve permits needed so that construction can begin on the nearly $3 billion energy infrastructure investment forecasted to support approximately 8,000 jobs.
The pipeline project is in need of environmental permits from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) before construction can begin later this fall.
At the pro-pipeline event, state and local elected officials, local businesses, labor unions and community leaders all expressed support for the project.

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