Hudson: Winter is coming

Atlantic Coast Pipeline will conclude in Robeson County

With the days still hot in North Carolina, it’s hard to imagine turning on the heat, but winter’s cold temperatures could bring increased demand for natural gas and increased energy costs for our families.

I regularly hear concerns from constituents about the steady increase in electricity and gas prices. From skyrocketing prices at the pump to soaring utility bills at home, folks are hurting because the government continues to stand in the way of domestic energy exploration and production.

U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson This Week in Washington

U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson
This Week in Washington

But this week, our district and North Carolina got some very promising news — news that could lower energy prices for homes and businesses, reduce our nation’s dependency on foreign oil, and create jobs in our district.  It was announced that four U.S. energy companies — Dominion, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas and AGL Resources — plan to build the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline which will conclude in Robeson County. I am committed to ensuring Robeson County and all of the 8th District benefit from the construction of this pipeline, from creating construction jobs, to attracting new manufacturers and ensuring energy is pursued in an environmentally responsible way.

Currently, western North Carolina is home to the Transcontinental Pipeline, the only interstate natural gas pipeline in our state, which transports natural gas from the Gulf Coast to the Northeast. The proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline will be a second pipeline, serving the southeast and addressing the increasing demand for natural gas. The new pipeline will flow down south from the shale basins of West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio, bringing natural gas and new industries into Robeson County and eastern North Carolina. Twenty-two miles of the 550-mile pipeline will be located in Robeson County.

This pipeline will bring hundreds of much-needed jobs to our state and will help fuel economic growth by keeping energy costs down for families and businesses alike. The project is expected to create over 700 construction jobs each year in our state during the building phase and will have an economic impact of approximately $680 million.  Not only that, the pipeline has the potential to attract more industries and manufacturers to our region. With the right policies in place, we could see more projects like this, develop more American energy in an environmentally responsible way, and unlock the potential for a more prosperous America.

Our state is on the cusp of unleashing our own natural resources through hydraulic fracturing and offshore drilling. The challenge does not lie in our industry finding these resources, but in man-made government regulatory hurdles that prohibit us from allocating the time and investment to capitalizing on them. We have so much potential for growth, and I’m committed to cutting government red tape and burdensome regulations to allow our state to take advantage of our natural resources. We need the right policies in place to create an environment where energy producers can responsibly tap into these resources, create thousands of jobs and transform our economy.

With energy prices rising and salaries declining, many hardworking families have to do more with less. That’s why it’s so important that we pursue domestic energy production to lower energy prices so that families can save more of their hard-earned money. I will continue to work with my colleagues to advance commonsense legislation that creates jobs, reduces our dependence on foreign energy, and lowers costs for everyone.

Richard Hudson, a Republican, represents the 8th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. The district includes a small part of Mecklenburg County and takes in all or parts of the counties of Cabarrus, Union, Randolph, Rowan, Davidson, Stanly, Anson, Montgomery, Richmond, Scotland and Robeson.

Filed in: Opinion

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