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Every day, Americans enjoy the benefits of a strong natural gas industry. It has contributed billions to the national economy, put millions of laborers to work and helped the U.S. take strides towards complete energy independence. Virginia and West Virginia have emerged as critical states in our country’s energy future, yet neither state has the necessary infrastructure to connect the abundant natural gas from the booming Marcellus and Utica shale production to hungry regional markets.

This is why it is critical that our elected officials support the Mountain Valley Pipeline project.

Once constructed, the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) would immediately be impactful, providing up to two million dekatherms per day of firm transmission capacity to markets in the Mid- and South Atlantic U.S. Running 303 miles from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia, the project will create thousands of jobs across the nearly 20 counties it intersects, generate over $1.5 million in regional tax benefits and extend the current reach of the Equitrans transmission system so that millions more Americans can fuel their homes and business with cost-effective natural gas.

It is critical that we prioritize clean, domestically sourced energy in the Virginias and support the expansion of the existing natural gas pipeline capacity through projects such as the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Many of the wells drilled in the Marcellus and Utica shales lack the means to deliver natural gas to customers. Without new pipelines to transport this energy, we will see a drastic slowdown in the natural gas industry. This would lead to less investment, job layoffs and a slash in taxes generated.

We should all be committed to creating jobs for the dedicated laborers of Virginia and West Virginia. The Mountain Valley Pipeline is a multi-million-dollar investment in both states’ energy infrastructure, providing an opportunity to put thousands of men and women to work and helping millions of Americans gain access to affordable, reliable, environmentally responsible and domestically-produced energy. The benefits associated with MVP are exactly why elected officials work so hard to develop strategies for safe and responsible pipeline development that will bring resources to markets throughout the region.

It is crucial that our elected officials recognize the significance of this project in order to secure the economic and energy future of Virginia, West Virginia and the surrounding region.

I support the Mountain Valley Pipeline and encourage its completion without delay.