Tuesday, March 17, 2015

I Agree: Pipelines Should Be ‘Evaluated On Their Individual Merits.’ Why Don’t We?

The following comment was left regarding New Jersey Star-Ledger columnist Paul Mulshine’s Chris Christie should address the oily logic of pipeline opponents. Mulshine highlighted the hypocrisy of NJ’s NIMBY (not -in-my-back-yard) opponents of the proposed Pilgrim Pipeline, which would carry liquid petroleum products across Northern NJ.

In response to my comments, Kevin posted, in part:

There are many energy choices, some difficult, and they should be evaluated on their individual merits. The Pilgrim Pipeline is a bad idea.  If it isn't built, fossil fuels won't disappear.

I also think it's unfair to characterize the opposition as extreme environmentalists.  They're simply not.  Nor are they all affluent.  All along the route of the pipeline, people of every economic and political stripe are opposed to it.

I'd encourage you to take a look at the pipeline route as it goes through Fanwood, Scotch Plains, Edison and Woodbridge, more densely populated communities.  Look at it in satellite view.  See how close the pipeline gets to the swing sets and sandboxes.  Kids play mere feet from the pipeline.

My reply:

“There are many energy choices, some difficult, and they should be evaluated on their individual merits.”

Really? When do you ever hear fossil fuels evaluated on their merits. When do you hear people talking about the benefits? Of the risks of not using fossil fuels? Rarely.  

Industrial civilization is full of potential hazards. Schools have natural gas piping and/or oil piping for their furnaces. Most streets have high-pressure natgas lines below, including in residential neighborhoods, where kids live and play. Roads have tanker trucks carrying liquid explosives. Every car is a potential bomb. Electrification can cause catastrophic fires. Planes fly overhead, any one of which could crash. And yes, pipelines involve risks, as well. What doesn’t? You say the pipeline is a bad idea. But you give no reason why.

No, not every pipeline opponent is an “extreme environmentalist.” It’s true that many local opponents are only concerned with “their” pipeline. But the same is true of other pipelines—the PennEast natural gas pipeline through my home county of Hunterdon; the South Jersey Gas pipeline through the Pinelands; Keystone. Meanwhile, they enable the extreme environmentalists. “If it isn't built, fossil fuels won't disappear.” Not right away. But it’s a step in that direction.

Related Reading:

NJ's "St. Ambrose" LNG Port and Liz Roberts's One-Sided Disaster Mongering

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