For more than 20 years, public officials and businesses have lamented the lack of natural gas service in Mesquite and called it a roadblock to economic development.
On Monday, Feb. 11 the end of that long road was in plain sight as Danielle’s Chocolates & Popcorn, the first Mesquite business to receive natural gas service, celebrated a “turning of the wrench” and made its first batch of chocolates under the watchful eyes of Southwest Gas and public officials.
As a Nevada State Assemblywoman and now Clark County Commissioner, Marilyn Kirkpatrick played a large part in helping Mesquite achieve its long-held goal and was at the celebration. As one of the two co-sponsors who worked on the original legislation to change state law, Kirkpatrick said she had heard many conversations from Mesquite business owners and public officials about the need for natural gas service.
“We in the legislature heard back in 2012 that we needed balanced power out here,” Kirkpatrick said. “We changed the law so we didn’t have to wait until the actual pipeline connector was built. This is great for Mesquite’s economic development and will allow industrial businesses to have some opportunities here. It will also allow homeowners to have a natural gas option. I’m very excited for Mesquite and I’m glad to see this come to fruition.”
“This is a game-changer for Mesquite,” Mayor Al Litman said. “The future is open now. You’re going to see an expansion of businesses and other businesses saving tremendous amounts of money. I think you’ll see housing developments expanding also because of the natural gas service that people have been waiting for. The future just gets brighter and brighter for Mesquite. We had a lot of good players in this.”
Chris Sohus, Southwest Gas Vice President of Operations for southern Nevada, said “We’re excited to finally be here to celebrate serving our first customer in Mesquite. It’s something we have been looking forward to for many years. It’s exciting to be here today after so much anticipation and so much hard work and planning.”
In addition to Danielle’s Chocolates & Popcorn, five more local businesses are slated to soon begin receiving virtual natural gas service including the Mesquite Senior Center.
Until a permanent service line is built to connect to the Kern River natural gas pipeline 14 miles north of the city, Southwest Gas is using ‘virtual’ natural gas to service businesses and homes. Compressed natural gas is trucked into the city and distributed via a pipeline which at present runs from City Hall to the intersection of Falcon Ridge and Pioneer Boulevards.
As the multi-year, multi-phase project continues, Southwest Gas will construct approximately 40 miles of pipeline throughout the city and to the Kern River transmission line. Completion of the connector line depends on environmental studies and permits from the Bureau of Land Management. Sohus anticipates initial approvals will take about 18 months. Over that time, Southwest Gas will continue to build out the intercity pipeline.
The immediate benefit to the city is the addition of approximately 300 jobs during the pipeline construction and supporting infrastructure.
Mesquite businesses and homeowners may inquire about natural gas service by contacting Southwest Gas at email@example.com or by calling 800-654-2765.