Voters in three Mid-Atlantic states support energy development, which includes constructing the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) project, a 1.5 Bcf/d, 550-mile natural gas system that would move Appalachian Basin supplies from West Virginia to North Carolina, according to polling data released Thursday by Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA).

CEA said more than half the people responding — 56% in Virginia, 70% in West Virginia and 55% in North Carolina — support constructing the pipeline. Survey results also indicate that voters of all political affiliations support expanding offshore exploration, building the Keystone XL pipeline, keeping coal power plants operational and expanding shale production via hydraulic fracturing, CEA said.

Respondents pointed to a number of reasons for their position on the pipeline, with jobs being mentioned the most frequently (19%), followed by an anticipated reduction in the price of natural gas (18%). “The contribution to U.S. energy independence and the general positive impact the pipeline will have on the economy were also cited as reasons for support,” CEA said.

The results were based on a survey conducted June 2-4 of 500 registered voters each in Virginia and North Carolina, and 400 registered voters in West Virginia by Hickman Analytics Inc.

Dominion, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas and AGL Resources are backing the $4.5 billion ACP project, which was announced last year (see Daily GPI, Oct. 31, 2014; Sept. 2, 2014). The pipeline would run 550 miles from Harrison County, WV, southeast through Virginia with an extension to Chesapeake, VA, and then south through eastern North Carolina to Robeson County. The main pipeline would be 42 inches in diameter in West Virginia and Virginia, reducing to 36 inches in North Carolina.

ACP would help meet growing gas demand in Virginia and North Carolina by providing direct access to production in the Marcellus and Utica shales of West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Nearly 28,000 comments on the proposed pipeline were filed at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission during a recent 60-day scoping period, 82% of them in support of the project, according to an analysis prepared for the project’s backers by Natural Resource Group (see Daily GPI, May 18). The bulk of the comments came from nongovernmental organizations (NGO) and were favorable; most of the opposition came from environmental NGOs.