Officials and business people from both Lewis and Harrison Counties gathered on a hilltop in Lightburn to begin construction on the first compressor station on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. It’s a project being led in the area by Dominion Energy, one they say is meant to last.
“It is being done in a sustainable manner, both environmentally, and with the longevity of this pipeline, being able to produce a resource for generations to come,” said Samantha Norris, communications specialist with Dominion Energy.
It’s also a way to see some economic growth across the state. The pipeline will go all the way across the state, crossing into Virginia in Pocahontas County. State officials said it’s been a priority to see the project start.
“We need to do this in a bright, sensible and environmentally correct way, and I think this project exemplifies all those things. The Governor’s been very supportive of this project. He sees it as a great opportunity for immediate and long-term growth in our state,” said West Virginia Secretary of Commerce Woody Thrasher.
While people across the state stand to benefit, Lewis County stands to see some big changes locally. The site looks out across the Lewis-Harrison line, and will bring lots of jobs to people around the area.
“For this area, it’s pretty large, we’ll have probably a hundred employees on the site at the peak of this, so we’ll hire a lot of skilled labor around the area, welders, fitters and so on, so yeah, it’s a good plus for the area,” said Mike Morris, general manager for MEC Construction.
Project leaders said the pipeline has the potential to boost the Lewis County tax base by 150 percent, and local stores expect to see an increase in business, too.
“They’re in our community, our retail shops, our tourism spots. everything, every business that we have will benefit from this project,” said Sherry Rogers, executive director of the Lewis County Chamber of Commerce.