The proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline and the Dakota Access pipeline — which has been in operation for three years — aren’t the only ones facing challenges these days.
Anti-pipeline activists also have been celebrating the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), while apparently not realizing that the unintended consequences are likely to be fewer jobs and more carbon emissions.
Dominion Energy, mainly based in Virginia, and Duke Energy of North Carolina recently abandoned the proposed pipeline project, citing “the increasing legal uncertainty that overhangs large-scale energy and industrial infrastructure development in the United States.”
When opponents work to block pipelines, what they’re really accomplishing is shutting down entire sections of the economy and forcing consumers and businesses to pay the price in terms of higher energy costs.
In this case, the shutting down of the natural gas pipeline will require residents of the northeast sector of the U.S. to use more heating oil as their fuel source. But oil heat generates both more air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions than natural gas.
Jim Snell, who is a member of a steamfitters local union that does work on pipelines, recently said, “Opponents realize that natural gas has no value if it can’t get to market, so they shifted their focus from the shale fields to pipelines, investing all their time and money to delay and block energy infrastructure projects.”
Mr. Snell went on to make the point — one that we agree with — that “ you cannot be pro-business, pro-worker, pro-middle class or even pro-environment if you support halting projects that deliver cleaner-burning, low-cost fuel that consumers and manufacturers need.”
Residents of Midwestern states already are well aware of legal maneuverings in an attempt to close the Dakota Access pipeline, and that construction of the Keystone XL pipeline was temporarily shut down by a court ruling just a few weeks after it finally began.
These situations and the ACP decision create even more concern that a series of anti-pipeline dominos has begun to fall.
That could be especially true of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden wins election in November. Mr. Biden already has said that he will revoke Keystone XL’s construction permit if elected, and has made comments about his hostility to shale drilling in general.
Mike Sommers, president of the American Petroleum Institute, said, “Our nation’s outdated and convoluted permitting rules are opening the door for a barrage of baseless, activist-led litigation, undermining American energy progress and denying local communities the environmental, employment and economic benefits modern pipelines provide,”
We couldn’t agree more.