Daily Mail editorial: Mountain Valley Pipeline will provide much needed economic boost

High in some trees atop Peters Mountain in Monroe County sits a small group of passionate and dedicated protesters doing what they can to delay or stop construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

“We couldn’t let it just happen,” a treetop pipeline protester told Matt Combs of the Register-Herald in Beckley.

About a half a dozen protesters are taking turns in the trees along the mountain ridge near the Appalachian Trail. A small group on the ground is providing food and support. They all deserve credit for their dedication and passion toward doing what they believe they must do.

Yet elsewhere, officials with Mountain Valley Pipeline are doing what they believe they must do to build a 303-mile pipeline to supply the eastern United States with clean-burning energy to power the nation forward.

The natural gas that ultimately will flow through the pipeline will be used to heat the homes of thousands of Americans. It will provide the fuel for utilities to generate electricity to ensure that homes and businesses, hospitals and schools, churches and community centers have clean, reliable, affordable, on-demand power.

That natural gas will fuel industrial furnaces, powering economic growth, manufacturing exports and assuring jobs for thousands of Americans.

And that’s just on the receiving end of the pipeline.

At the source, the pipeline will provide a market for millions of cubic feet of gas to be produced in West Virginia, much of it tapped into and ready but with no outlet. Once moving, the natural gas will provide royalty revenue for many landowners, large and small, making a big difference for some in their ability to pay their bills.

As it is produced, the natural gas to flow through the pipeline will provide millions of dollars in revenue to county and state governments, adding much-needed income to our schools and government programs.

While the pipeline is being constructed, MVP will spend $811 million directly in West Virginia, creating for the state as many as 4,500 jobs and adding $47 million to tax revenue.

But pipeline protesters either can’t see or don’t want those benefits for people on both ends of the pipeline and the counties along the route. They make claims of environmental and safety dangers from the pipeline that don’t match reality.

The reality is there are dozens of natural gas pipelines crossing the Appalachian Mountains safely delivering energy, but more are needed. The reality of natural gas use is described further on this page by columnist Mark J. Perry.

Existing and future pipelines do and will provide much of the energy that powers the American economy. The U.S. has the world’s largest network of pipelines, according to the website, Pipeline101.com.

It is these pipelines, among many other modern necessities, that keep hospital nurseries and emergency rooms operating to save lives; keep bedrooms of loving couples warm and cozy to create lives; and power the economy that creates our jobs, helps to produce and deliver our food and necessities and puts money into our bank accounts.

Like other approved pipeline projects, Mountain Valley’s developers had to follow a complex, lengthy and expensive legal process — designed by Congress and the federal government over many years — to ensure the pipeline is needed, will protect communities in its path and will provide for the energy needs of the nation.

Despite the claims of those high in the trees of Peters Mountain, Mountain Valley Pipeline will do much more good than harm for West Virginia and the United States.

This article was authored for the Charleston Gazette Mail's Daily Mail Opinion page. Click here to read it on the publication's website.