Another coalition has formed in relation to a utility-backed plan to construct the 550-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), this time in support of the project, with more than 100 businesses, labor organizations and other groups pledging to raise awareness about the project’s benefits.

The coalition, called EnergySure, was formed just days after a separate coalition of 35 conservation and environmental groups known as the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance took a position opposing the project and denounced its potential environmental impacts (see Daily GPIJune 23).

EnergySure is being sponsored by ACP backers Dominion Transmission Inc., Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas and AGL Resources "to provide a platform for informed discussions about the project." Chambers of commerce from Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina, along with several trade unions, are among the coalition's members. In all, the group consists of 110 local, state and national businesses, and labor and economic development organizations.

ACP would run from Harrison County, WV, southeast through Virginia and into eastern North Carolina (see Daily GPISept. 2, 2014). The pipeline would pair Marcellus and Utica shale natural gas with growing demand in Virginia and North Carolina. It is expected to cost $4.5 billion. Construction is set to begin next year and continue through 2019, with a tentative in-service date of 2018 for part of the project.

In its support for the project, EnergySure cited demand for natural gas in the region that's expected to more than triple over the next 20 years and the billions of dollars in economic impacts that the pipeline could possibly bring to the states where it would be constructed. The Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance, however, maintains that ACP could threaten water supplies, cause erosion and divide national forests in the Allegheny-Blue Ridge region, a stretch of the larger Appalachian Mountain Range.

EnergySure said it would participate in "continued public dialogue on the urgent needs met by, and the significant benefits of" ACP.