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Testimony in support of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Testimony in support of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline

by Thomas Lambert Cranmer, 11/21/2017, at the Virginia State Water Board hearing
Trinity Family Life Center, 3601 Dill Road, Richmond, VA

Thank you for the opportunity to speak before you in support of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. My name is Thomas Lambert Cranmer. I am a concerned citizen who has decades of experience in analyzing and advising governments on energy projects (plus some water projects) and the regulatory environment in about half the countries of the world. The Circuit Court of Fairfax, VA accepted me as a transportation expert. I have a BA from Yale in geology and an MBA from Columbia in economics with special work on regulatory history and laws. I have been active in environmental matters and was the VP for Finance and a member of the Board of Directors of the Student Conservation Association. Although I am a Fellow at the think tank American Center for Democracy (ACD), my statements here have not been shown to or endorsed by ACD. I have no connections with the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, its advisors or companies that are involved with the project and do not have any investments in those companies. My presentation here does not include most materials that have been presented to you before, to my knowledge.

The key conclusions I have is increased natural gas availability will help reduce poverty in Virginia and reduce air pollution. Natural gas is far cheaper than heating oil and propane. I use propane to heat my house, and it is an expensive by-product of oil refineries. Crude is priced more expensively on a heat value basis than natural gas, due to the different markets and the supply-demand relations of each. I would be delighted to have the opportunity to be able to heat my house with natural gas, rather than propane. Natural gas connections stop nearly three miles from my house, but there are no prospects for the pipeline to come to me.

When I lived in England, I did have the chance to convert from oil heat to natural gas. I got rid of my oil tank and my oil burner. I paid to replace them with a complete natural gas system, including a new burner and natural gas piping and connections. In one year the savings paid for all the expense of connecting to and using natural gas. The savings to Virginia users are likely to be similar.

Yesterday I drove by the modest houses of some of the people in the proposed area of the pipeline. These people should be able to achieve the equivalent saving and their depressed communities will benefit from the construction and maintenance of the pipeline. Not approving the pipeline would condemn these people to continued poverty.

Power companies using more natural gas would lower their costs and the rates approved by the State Corporation Commission would decrease, based on the lower costs. Natural gas is lower in pollutants than coal used in power plants.

Natural gas pipelines cover the United States like a complex spider web. Please refer to Attachment 1 for a map showing this. They have been approved by every regulatory authority. Natural gas piped in is a "win-win situation" wherever it has been tried.

In 2013, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) reported 2.2 million miles of regulated gas distribution line, 303 thousand miles of regulated gas transmission lines and 18 thousand miles of regulated gas gathering lines. DOT estimates another 223 thousand miles of additional "state" gas gathering lines are in rural areas.

DOT, the Department of Energy and state regulators oversea the pipelines. Natural gas pipelines are considered the safest method of transporting energy. The regulatory environment if shown graphically and in writing in Attachment 2.

DOT's Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the General Accounting Office and private studies have shown pipelines have had fewer fatalities and injuries than the trucking, rail and barge industries. Attachment 3 shows how DOT has cited the rail industry on an emergency basis for the actual accidents transporting petroleum and the likelihood of more accidents. Transporting crude oil by rail can increase costs per barrel by three to five dollars. The Fraser Institute reported that data from the US and Canada shows transportation of energy products by rail is over four times more likely to result in an accident or incident, compared to a pipeline.

The Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968 authorized DOT to regulate pipeline transportation of natural gas and the transportation and storage of liquified natural gas (LNG). As a result pipelines are closely regulated and inspected by the US government.

More and more LNG will be sent to Europe from the US. LNG export terminals are being built and utilized for exports from the Gulf Coast. Virginia has a chance to get into this expanding industry if the Atlantic Coast pipeline is built.

By approving the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, you have an opportunity to reduce poverty, decrease pollution, and increase employment in depressed areas. With more inexpensive fuel available in Virginia, increased industrial development will occur. Please support the pipeline.

Thank you. I am available to answer any of your questions, now or later. -- Thomas Lambert Cranmer