The decision by Duke Energy Corp. and Dominion Energy Inc. to cancel the construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is "economically rational" but still "disappointing" because of the number of jobs that will not be created, Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette said Monday.
The companies announced Sunday they were canceling the plans for the 600-mile natural gas pipeline, which had been originally planned in 2014, reports Fox Business. Brouillette told "Varney & Co." the decision is a "lost opportunity."
"It’s a lost opportunity because of the number of jobs that would have been created in places like West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, and North Carolina," said Brouillette. "The other lost opportunity here is lower energy costs for all of the residents in North Carolina. So a very important decision by these two companies. Disappointing, but I understand it."
The decision to stop the pipeline came a day before a federal judge Monday ordered the Dakota Access pipeline shut down pending a more thorough environmental review, and Brouillette said he believes it is "applicable" to blame both events on the actions of activists.
Meanwhile, the oil industry has been having a difficult time, and Brouillette said the fracking industry, which has led to much of the country's energy independence, is facing some harsh realities.
"Some are just highly leveraged, and they're going to go by the wayside," he said. "That's the way the free market works, that's the pressure that they're under. But many of them are beginning to ramp up production again as the demand comes back for refined products like gasoline and diesel. We're going to see them come back to the market very, very quickly."
In addition, the difficulty in generating infrastructure in the United States is causing difficulty for the energy sector.
"We are still the world's largest producer of oil and gas," he said. "We are having difficulty, incredible difficulty developing the infrastructure that's necessary to get the product to market. And we have to fix this regulatory construct in which we're operating today."
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