VERONA, Va. – While his national party leaders fight the Keystone XL Pipeline project across America’s plains, Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe sparked a political firestorm Tuesday by touting a massive natural-gas line through Virginia.

“This project is a game changer for Virginia’s economy, and the benefits will be both immediate and long-lasting,” McAuliffe said.

Dominion Resources and AGL Resources – whose representatives flanked McAuliffe at a Richmond news conference — will oversee construction and operation of the $5 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

AGL Resources chairman Hank Linginfelter pledged that the venture will bring “abundant, and affordable natural gas to the U.S. 460 corridor and Hampton Roads, and will serve as a backbone for economic expansion.”

The Keystone pipeline project, running from Canada to Texas, has generated similar claims.

But critics of the Dominion-AGL line — starting in West Virginia and branching out to North Carolina — contend that much of the liquefied natural gas will head out of the country.

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