No – Both pipelines will provide very little permanent jobs, and they will do the opposite of boost our state’s economy.
A great number of the jobs being touted as a benefit of the pipelines are actually not directly created jobs, but induced jobs. For example, if an Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) construction worker buys a shirt from a retail store, the job of the employee that rings up the shirt would be counted because technically the money spent on the shirt could go toward the store employee’s wages. The store employee’s job was not created by the ACP nor does it even relate to the pipeline, yet it is included in job counts regarding the pipeline project. A report commissioned by Dominion itself says that only 39 permanent jobs will be directly created by the ACP in Virginia.
An analysis of that report and another economic impact report commissioned by Dominion found these reports to be inaccurate, stating they “identified a number of problems with the reports’ conclusions” and “neither report accounted for any of the environmental and societal coast that the pipeline may impose on local communities.” In other words, the job numbers and economic benefits touted for the ACP are inflated and conveniently omit the negative economic impacts to communities through which the pipelines would run.
Another analysis on Dominion’s economic reports also concludes, “There is no clear support for the claim that the ACP would lead to additional opportunities for new manufacturing in the region, and this is likely the case for other new natural gas pipelines such as the Mountain Valley Pipeline.”
It’s worth noting that a large number of the pipeline jobs will go to out-of-state workers and not to residents of areas along the pipeline routes. The primary contractor for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) is Precision Pipeline, a Wisconsin-based company. As primary contractor for the ACP, Dominion hired Spring Ridge Constructors, LLC, which is a joint venture of four companies: two based in Texas, one in Wisconsin, and one in Oregon.
Additionally, locking Virginia into energy dependence on fracked gas will lock Virginia out of the jobs market and economic benefits of renewable energy. For each unit of electricity, more jobs are created for renewable energy sources than for fossil fuel energy sources, like gas pipelines. In fact, according to a Bureau of Labor and Statistics report, solar voltaic installer and wind turbine technician are the two fastest growing jobs in America. A report by the Virginia Jobs Project found that Virginia could potentially support 19,000 wind power jobs annually through 2030. In comparison, the MVP and ACP would provide less than 100 jobs post-construction.
Communities along the pipeline routes will experience a loss, not boost, of economy. The pipelines will cross iconic national sites like the Appalachian Trail and Blue Ridge Parkway, impacting tourism and tourism jobs along those and other scenic areas in Virginia. Water contamination and air pollution from pipeline construction and infrastructure operation would cost the local communities money in clean-up efforts and healthcare due to negative health impacts. (A conservative estimate found that the MVP could cost the City of Roanoke alone $36 million in cleaning up sediment from the Roanoke River). Further, property values along the pipelines’ routes would plummet.
A study on the economic costs of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline found that Augusta, Highland, Nelson, and Buckingham counties alone would experience a one-time loss of between $72.7 and $141.2 million during ACP construction and annual losses would range from $54.8 to $67.8 million.
A study on the economic costs of the Mountain Valley Pipeline found that communities local to the pipeline would experience a one-time loss in the range of $65.1 to $135.5 million and an annual loss ranging from $119.1 to $130.8 million.
The pipeline companies have intentionally inflated job numbers and economic benefits for the ACP and MVP to garner support for the projects, which have been proven unnecessary to meet future energy demands. In reality, the sole purpose of the pipelines is the guaranteed 14 percent rate of gain to the pipeline companies, Dominion and EQT.