HAMPTON ROADS, Va (WVEC) - It has come with years of protest and debate. Now, it's closer to being a reality.
Recently, a major water permit was approved for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, according to Dominion Energy.
That means construction on the more than $5 billion natural gas pipeline that travels into Hampton Roads could start soon.
"I've met businesses that wanted to come to this region that couldn't come to this region because it was clear that they weren't going to have enough energy to open up their manufacturing business. And to me, that's significant," said Entrepreneur, Deborah Gibbons.
Gibbons, a volunteer, has dedicated years to education with Dominion Energy.
The company promises millions of dollars in energy cost savings and local tax revenue. Also, thousands of jobs, about 8,000 of those in Virginia.
"Hampton Roads is going to be able to attract manufacturing and new industries and these are good paying jobs," said Aaron Ruby, Dominion Spokesperson.
But over the years, opposition has voiced major opinion about the pipeline.
Many sited environmental impacts, decreasing property values, refuting claims the structure will provide any benefit to the area.
Some even claim dangerous effects after natural gas pipeline explosions have been in the headlines over the years.
"A lightning storm may come along and then we'll have a big explosion and forest fire as well," said Jeff Staples, who has property where the pipeline would run through.
So far, all of Hampton Roads' delegates have backed the project. Opposition plans to file lawsuits on multiple fronts to try and stop development.
"If we can convince the Governor of the possibility of and probability of water pollution as a result, then we can stop this thing still," said Staples.
There are still a few smaller permits that need to be federally approved before construction, Ruby explained.
If approved the pipeline should be constructed in 2019.
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