Four energy companies (Dominion, Duke, Piedmont and AGL) announced the formation of a joint venture to build the Atlantic Coast Pipeline  today. The announcement was met with bipartisan support from Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, and Speaker of the House William Howell, a Republican.
The pipeline, which could be completed as soon as 2018, promises to bring thousands of jobs and continue to serve our natural gas energy needs.
In a statement  released about the project, the companies’ CEOs said:
“The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a transformational project for our region. It will create thousands of construction jobs during development and significant new revenue for state and local governments throughout North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. The expanded source of gas will also help fuel economic development across the region as businesses and homes rely more on natural gas.
“Natural gas is increasingly important for advanced electricity generation, contributing to significantly lower greenhouse gas and other emissions. The project will also provide more reliable access to new sources of natural gas, keeping consumers’ energy costs down – even during the coldest and hottest weather.”
Also this morning, in a press conference held in Richmond, Gov. McAuliffe joined Dominion CEO Tom Farrell and Virginia Natural Gas Chairman Hank Linginfelter to “announce the economic impacts of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline for Virginia.”
The McAuliffe administration called the proposed pipeline an “energy superhighway” that promises to provide “significant job, economic and revenue benefits” to Virginia.
Speaker Howell not only welcomed the news of the new venture, but also congratulated Gov. McAuliffe on his support of the project:
“I also applaud Governor Terry McAuliffe for his enthusiastic support of this project, despite fierce opposition from many allies of his own party,” said Howell. “It is encouraging to see Governor McAuliffe’s endorsement of those policies and their positive impacts.”
My understanding is the Sierra Club, CCAN, and Blue Virginia are apoplectic.
“Utterly appalling by Terry McAuliffe, who this morning was doing his best Ken Cuccinelli impression,” writes Lowell Feld of Blue Virginia. “Gack. By the way, I hope/expect to hear every other environmental group in Virginia weighing in against this crap.”
Of course, this has prompted this dig from Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Pat Mullins:
“Given the Governor’s new-found interest in working with the energy sector, I’m forced to wonder if the environmental movement has a home in the Virginia Democrat party any more.”
Quick Facts 
Here is a quick overview of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline:
* The pipeline would be approximately 550 miles long, including a connected pipeline or lateral that could bring additional supplies to Hampton Roads.
* In West Virginia and Virginia, the pipe would be 42 inches in diameter; in North Carolina, 36 inches. The Hampton Roads pipeline would be 20 inches in diameter.
* Three compressor stations have been planned as part of this project – one at the beginning of the pipeline in West Virginia, one in central Virginia (Buckingham County) and one near the Virginia-North Carolina state line.
* The capacity of the pipeline is projected to be 1.5 billion cubic feet/day.
* The range of normal operating pressure on the pipeline would be from 750 pounds per square inch gauge (psig) to 1,440 psig, its Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure. The pipeline would be designed with redundant safety systems to ensure this maximum pressure is not exceeded.
Update – A very bipartisan crowd chimes-in to show support for the pipeline:
Senator John Cosgrove, Chesapeake:
“This project will bring clean, affordable and abundant energy to communities across Virginia, including Hampton Roads. I am eager to work with Governor McAuliffe, Dominion and AGL to see this project completed safely and responsibly, and to begin to realize the enormous jobs and economic growth potential that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline offers our great Commonwealth.”
Senator Louise Lucas, Portsmouth:
“Governor McAuliffe continues to deliver on his promise of bringing new, good jobs to communities across the Commonwealth. I am confident that this project can be completed in an environmentally safe manner that respects local concerns, and that all Virginians will benefit from the lasting jobs and economic impacts that it will bring to our Commonwealth.”
Delegate Mark Sickles, Fairfax:
“Good family-wage construction jobs in the short term will lead to lower heating bills, a reduced carbon footprint and permanent manufacturing jobs in the long term–another huge advance in Governor McAuliffe’s mission to diversify the Commonwealth’s economy. Congratulations to all who worked so hard to win against four competing alternatives and good luck in the days and months ahead as decisions are made to make the underground natural gas pipeline a reality.”
Delegate Lionell Spruill, Chesapeake:
“I applaud Governor McAuliffe’s goal of making Virginia the manufacturing hub of the Mid-Atlantic, and for pledging to leverage the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to achieve it. Growing our economy in the face of federal cuts will require bringing new industries here, and this pipeline will be an outstanding asset as we work to bring manufacturers here who need access to clean and abundant natural gas.”
Delegate Roslyn Tyler, Sussex:
“The Atlantic Coast pipeline has the potential to create thousands of good jobs across the Commonwealth, including in Southside rural communities that need them. I am thrilled that this project will help all of us work together to build a new Virginia economy, while expanding our use of natural gas, which has half the carbon emissions of coal. I look forward to working with Governor McAuliffe and these companies to realize the promise this project has to offer for our region.”
Doris Crouse-Mays, President, Virginia AFL-CIO:
“This new project and the real long and short-term economic benefits it will bring fit perfectly with Governor McAuliffe’s plan to build a new Virginia economy. We look forward to working with him and these companies to help get the Atlantic Pipeline built safely and responsibly, and attract the next generation of Virginia job creators who will benefit from its operation here in Virginia.”
Barry DuVal, President and CEO, Virginia Chamber of Commerce:
“Today’s announcement will improve Virginia’s economic competitiveness in the global marketplace and help diversify our economy. The new abundance of natural gas will empower Virginia businesses to expand as well as help recruit new businesses and manufacturers to the Commonwealth.”
Chris Saxman, Executive Director, Virginia Foundation for Research and Economic Education (FREE)
“The Atlantic Coast Pipeline will create thousands of jobs, bring new businesses to communities across the Commonwealth, and expand our economy’s use of clean, abundant natural gas. I applaud Governor McAuliffe, Dominion Resources, and AGL Resources for working to bring this transformational project to Virginia.”
Brett A. Vassey, President and CEO, Virginia Manufacturers Association:
“The VMA supports Dominion Resources and AGL’s pursuit of environmental excellence and public safety with this new pipeline. This fuel and critical infrastructure will help rebuild US manufacturing competitiveness and spark the development of Virginia’s Port Zone.”