02/08/18 — County wants natural gas pipeline

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County wants natural gas pipeline

By Steve Herring
Published in News on February 8, 2018 5:50 AM

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Wayne County commissioners adopted a resolution in support of bringing natural gas to northern Wayne County during their Tuesday meeting. From left are Commissioners Wayne Aycock, Joe Gurley, Bill Pate, Joe Daughtery and Ed Cromartie.

Wayne County commissioners have adopted a resolution in support of bringing natural gas to northern Wayne County and will form a working group to see that process through.

Securing a natural gas pipeline for that area of the county was one of the board's top goals when commissioners held their budget planning session last month.

It was not on the original priority list, but was added at the request of District 1 Commissioner Ray Mayo whose district includes that area.

Mayo also asked for the resolution that was unanimously approved by commissioners during their Tuesday morning session.

"This was one of our No. 1 goals that the board said was really a request for working with the Fremont and Pikeville area in northern Wayne County," County Manager Craig Honeycutt said. "It is one of the tools that they need in their tool box for development is natural gas.

"In working with Fremont, I believe they have had some interest up there if they had natural gas for industrial development."

The resolution is the county's first step to say it supports those efforts, Honeycutt said.

The county will help Fremont and Pikeville work toward that goal because what is good for those communities is also good for the remainder of the county, he said.

Mayo, who made the motion to approve the resolution, said he appreciated the board's support and for initiating the process.

He also asked for the board to consider forming a working group to push ahead on the goal instead of just letting it "lay" or go the "wrong way."

"Our legislators, we need to get them involved and set a time and set an avenue of how we can move forward," Mayo said. "We do have commitments from several of the big farmers up in the northern part of the county.

"Some of these big farmers use 500,000 pounds, I guess you would call it, of propane per year. When you look at converting that to natural gas, it is a big savings."

Mayo said he would like to see the county get everything together in a package to present to the natural gas companies to see what the options are.

Chairman Bill Pate said he liked that idea, particularly bringing up the farming aspect and the amount of gas used by farmers.

"We have been talking about natural gas in the northern end of the county ever since we have been on this board, and previous boards have even talked about it," Commissioner Wayne Aycock said. "But my question is, has anybody even asked for natural gas in the northern end of the county? I mean as a group.

"We hear, 'We need natural gas. We need natural gas.' But has anybody actually been to the gas companies and tried to work out these things?"

Mayo said Fremont Town Administrator Barbara Aycock and Mayor Darron Flowers have spoken with natural gas officials on a preliminary basis.

"What they are saying is that before they would even look at running (a gas line) from Kenly or Black Creek that, 'We have got to have some people who agree to connect to it,'" Mayo said.

"My point is that if we come together and are able to get a working group, and we get our facts together and go see these farmers, we go see these business people and let them put on a piece of paper they will hook up to natural gas."

That would provide the county something concrete to talk about with natural gas companies instead of saying the county would like to have natural gas in that area, he said.

Commissioner Ed Cromartie said he had one caveat to add.

"All Wayne County, all the citizens need to have the opportunity to get natural gas if they can," Cromartie said.

It can be a great savings, he said.

Cromartie said the working group should have a countywide focus.

Honeycutt agreed with Cromartie that natural gas was needed for both residential and industrial use.

Honeycutt said he would begin organizing a working group.

"We will start spreading the word because that is one of our top priorities in the coming year," he said.