A controversial pipeline project is getting some support from local elected leaders in the eastern part of the state.
The proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline would carry natural gas from West Virginia, across Virginia and south through North Carolina. Some of the pipeline would cut through economically hard hit areas such as Halifax and Northampton Counties.
Roanoke Rapids Mayor Emery Doughtie said the city lost five textile mills which employed several thousand people.
“We've been able to bring in a few industries but we've also continued to struggle with a higher unemployment rate than the state average,” Doughtie said, adding that the pipeline could attract new industry to his city.
Doughtie has joined the mayor of Garysburg in neighboring Northampton County in touting the pipeline's potential economic benefits.
"To me it sets the tone for new industry that may be looking to locate in eastern North Carolina," Doughtie said.
Some landowners whose property would be affected by the pipeline oppose the project. Environmental advocates say current demand for natural gas does not justify construction of a new pipeline.
In July, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which oversees interstate natural gas pipelines, released its final environmental impact statement for the proposed 600-mile pipeline, which has broad support from political and business leaders but is staunchly opposed by environmentalists and many affected landowners.