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The Daily Tar Heel

Editorial: We don't want the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in North Carolina

The Department of Environmental Quality recently approved the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to run through central North Carolina, which is projected to cost between $7 billion and $7.5 billion. 

Ironically, the same agency that has approved this pipeline is opposed to the construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline Southgate extension, which would cost $468 million. 

This weird and blatant contradiction of approvals is rightfully turning heads. Environmental protection organizers speculate that Governor Cooper likely did not approve of the second pipeline due to the negative backlash to the approval of the first one. 

Environmental protesters remained steadfast in their disapproval of the Atlantic Coast pipeline, and protested outside Governor Roy Cooper’s office. In all the craziness of our world, it’s uplifting that there are people constantly fighting for what they believe in and trying to make a positive impact in their community. 

The morals of our elected officials, rather than public reaction, should guide policy making. But in this case, when the administration has overlooked morality, it’s good that the governor is listening to environmental concerns and did not approve of the second pipeline. 

Regardless of the organizing against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, however, it's still in the works and that is not likely to change anytime soon.

Opponents to the project cite that a pipeline through the center of our state is not necessary to meet our natural gas needs, and it carries many associated environmental risks. The pipeline would damage water quality, increase methane emissions and increase the risk of fires in the region.

In other words, it’s simply not worth it.

One of the best things about North Carolina is our natural beauty: beaches on one side, mountains on the other. Over time, we have seen that our beaches are eroding (RIP Ocracoke), and more of what makes North Carolina so great could be harmed if these pipelines are built. 

More broadly, it’s a really, really bad decision to invest in fossil fuels right now. A lot of regions are making the switch to more renewable energy — because, you know, the Earth is dying. 

Making the switch to fossil fuels is becoming easier and cheaper. It’s a shame that North Carolina still hasn’t made this switch to invest in the future of our state. 

It’s painful to watch people in power consistently make decisions that we all know are going to negatively affect generations to come. This is especially frustrating when citizens organize in opposition and are overlooked. The environmental costs of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline outweigh the financial benefits, and legislators should stop thinking with their purse.

The governor made a mistake in approving the first pipeline, which was made more clear when his administration disapproved of the second. Let’s hope he recognizes his mistake, listens to activists and changes his mind for the environmental future of North Carolina. We don't want the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in our state.

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