The following is a guest post by Mike Atchie, Manager of Public Outreach with Williams Partners. You can learn more about Atlantic Sunrise by visiting the project’s website or connecting on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Google+.
How Atlantic Sunrise will power American energy independence
On Feb. 3, the future of Pennsylvania’s energy landscape got a little brighter when the Federal Environmental Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a certificate of public convenience and necessity authorizing Williams Partners’ Atlantic Sunrise.
If you haven’t heard of Atlantic Sunrise, here’s what you need to know. The project, a 200-mile expansion of Williams’ existing Transco natural gas pipeline, will connect abundant Marcellus Shale natural gas supplies to markets in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern U.S. Following the receipt of all necessary regulatory approvals, Pennsylvania pipeline construction is scheduled to begin in the third quarter of this year.
Atlantic Sunrise taps into what I believe to be the lifeblood of this state: innovation. With creative minds and skilled hands developing efficient new ways to harness our natural resources, the potential for growth is limitless. This growth can most aptly be seen in the range of positive effects this project will bring to Pennsylvania and the nation as a whole.
Infrastructure. Atlantic Sunrise will expand the nation’s access to Pennsylvania’s rich supply of natural gas, enabling faster and more inexpensive transportation of the product to connect Americans to clean, affordable, domestically produced energy. The resulting increase in shale production and transportation will enable us to supply the natural gas required to meet the daily needs of over 7 million American homes.
Employment. Large-scale energy infrastructure projects such as Atlantic Sunrise are undeniable job drivers, creating a need that skilled laborers and contractors will fill. The project will create approximately 8,000 jobs — and an associated $870 million in economic value added during construction. The ongoing operation of Atlantic Sunrise will support another 29 jobs. These much-needed opportunities for thousands of laborers come at a time when Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate remains consistently higher than the national average.
Economic growth. Atlantic Sunrise is a nearly $3 billion project that will yield $1.6 billion in additional wages, revenue and investments. This is revenue that Pennsylvanians will see flowing right back home in the form of affordable energy, job opportunities and rewarding business and manufacturing ventures. We’ve seen it time and again: Infrastructure projects create thriving investment opportunities for existing businesses and prospective businesses that are looking to locate in Pennsylvania.
Despite what others might say, we don’t have to choose economic growth over safety; it’s possible to have both. Williams is committed to bringing these benefits to the area with the highest regard for public and environmental safety. In fact, FERC recently concluded that Atlantic Sunrise’s environmental impact will be “less than significant” with the implementation of mitigation measures outlined by the company and FERC.
Atlantic Sunrise has the potential to change the lives of thousands in Pennsylvania and beyond — and we need your help to finish making this a reality. If you want to see these valuable benefits come to life, you can take action today. Sign this letter to Gov. Tom Wolf to voice your endorsement of Atlantic Sunrise and the future of energy in Pennsylvania.
I believe that by standing together to support this project, we are building an opportunity for innovation that is not only for the community but truly by the community.