Mike Atchie, Williams Partners’ manager of public outreach, made an appearance on 94.3 Shale Gas News Now radio show to share insights into the Atlantic Sunrise expansion and the significant milestones the project has recently reached.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a certificate of public convenience and necessity in early February, bringing this critical energy infrastructure project another step further in its journey.
Atchie outlined the remaining steps for completion, including approvals from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
When the necessary permits have been approved, construction can proceed, with a full-service start date slated for mid-2018. Williams will be constructing multiple phases simultaneously to bring the project into service as quickly and efficiently as possible.
As Atchie pointed out, Williams isn’t the only natural gas company invested in the project. Industry partner Cabot Oil & Gas is awaiting construction, having recently increased its Atlantic Sunrise capacity commitment by 150 million cubic feet. This will bring Cabot’s total commitment to 1 billion cubic feet — a number that doesn’t include nine more companies waiting to use the line to move natural gas to markets throughout the mid-Atlantic and Southeast.
Unlocking the glut of natural gas that is currently trapped, due in large part to a lack of pipeline infrastructure, will reinvigorate investment in job growth related to shale development — which has slowed over the last few years.
Atchie called this large-scale transportation of gas a dynamic shift that’s “changing the whole approach to how we move energy in this country.”
Atlantic Sunrise will allow the energy industry in Pennsylvania to grow and consumers to tap into the largest natural gas basin in the country. Moving this resource from the Marcellus Shale to markets across the mid-Atlantic and Southeast, thereby stepping into a wave of American energy independence, requires a widespread network of infrastructure projects like Atlantic Sunrise.
Atchie touched on Williams’ efforts to give back to local communities through the Atlantic Sunrise Community Grant Program. Since 2015, the program has invested almost $1.5 million in impactful projects across the 10 counties within the Atlantic Sunrise footprint.
Atchie said Atlantic Sunrise has received tremendous support from locals in the form of public comments and letters of support, but there’s more work to do. He encouraged people to take a stand for energy independence and voice their opinions by sending letters to their legislators and Gov. Tom Wolf, or submitting letters to the editors of local papers.
To learn more about advocacy opportunities, follow this link: action.atlanticsunriseexpansion.com.