In a recent New Jersey Star-Ledger op-ed, Chris Christie should address the oily logic of pipeline opponents, columnist Paul 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. Mulshine wrote:
This opposition is nonsensical, whether it comes from the Democrats opposing Keystone or Republicans opposing Pilgrim, such as Senate [Republican] Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr.
Consider Kean’s statement against Pilgrim:
“Several of our towns have reached out to me personally about the potential impact of this pipeline, about the effect on densely populated areas and on legally-protected natural preserves,” Kean (R-Union) said.
Note the illogic: We can’t run the pipeline through populated areas because people live there. But we can’t run the pipeline through unpopulated areas either; we’ve passed laws saying people can’t live there.
And as to the safety question, Mulshine noted that pipelines are demonstrably safer than other forms of petroleum transport. That fact mean nothing to the Pilgrim NIMBY’s, because:
Given that those trains and barges tend to run through the back yards of people who live in places a lot less ritzy than Chatham, that sounds like classic NIMBYism.
I left these comments:
And notice the almost breathtaking hypocrisy of Pilgrim’s opponents. There are currently about 185,000 miles of liquid petroleum pipelines, 320,000 miles of gas transmission pipelines, and two million miles of gas distribution pipelines in operation in America. Anyone who relies on food and other products transported to the shelves of their local stores, electricity, clean running water, sanitary waste disposal, gasoline for their cars, fuel for heat, etc., etc., etc., relies in large part on these pipelines that pass through other people’s backyards. Pilgrim’s opponents surely do. If every local community thought like Pilgrim’s opponents, and had the power to stop commerce, America would still be an impoverished third-world backwater. These NIMBY’s prove the wisdom of the Founding Fathers: The original purpose of the Commerce Clause was precisely to prevent narrow-minded local tribes from shutting down interstate commerce.
And Brendan Keating is disingenuous to assert that “the Chatham people [and other opponents] are not part of” the radical “jihad on pipelines.” Their hypocrisy is an enabler of the much more dangerous environmentalist crusade against fossil fuels. Environmentalism holds “pristine” nature, rather than human life, as its standard of value. Environmentalism is an evil ideology because human beings survive and thrive precisely by transforming “pristine” nature into a livable, industrial environment. And the industry of industries is energy. Fossil fuels are far and away the most viable option for providing the massive amounts of reliable, economical, scalable energy required to sustain and grow an industrial economy capable of supporting Earth’s 7 billion people. Nuclear and hydro are a distant second and third. So-called “renewables” like wind and solar aren’t even on the reliability scale. That’s why, worldwide, fossil provides 86% of the world’s energy. Fossil is the people’s choice, for good reason. It is the moral and practical choice, because it improves human lives.
Environmentalism stands opposed to every reliable energy source—not only fossil but nuclear and hydro as well—and thus to human life. If environmentalism ever succeeded in its stated goal of shutting down the fossil fuel industry in the absence of any proven viable replacement—which as of now does not exist—the scale of human devastation would dwarf the combined horrors of communism, fascism, and theocracy. This is not hyperbole. Agriculture would shut down. Medical care would be shackled. Modern transportation would grind to a halt. Most communication would go silent. The ability to protect ourselves from climate dangers—from heat to cold to droughts to floods to storms—would be thwarted. Production and commerce would grind to a halt, and billions would literally die. Pilgrim’s opponents should consider who they are in bed with—and then take an objective look at this pipeline.
I’ll post my replies to a couple of comments in the next two days.
[NOTE: After Brendan Keating contacted me by e-mail protesting my characterization of his position, I left this “Retraction and correction”;
I said “And Brendan Keating is disingenuous to assert that ‘the Chatham people [and other opponents] are not part of’ the radical ‘jihad on pipelines.’” This was a poor use of the word “disingenuous” that amounts to an unintended smear of Keating. What I actually had in mind to say is that Keating and other opponents of the pipeline are unwittingly advancing the cause of the “environmentalist crusade against fossil fuels.” My poor choice of the word “disingenuous” inadvertently implies that Keating supports what Mulshine calls a “jihad against pipelines.” But Keating clearly disassociates himself from that cause.
[Mulshine had cited “radical environmentalists” who have “declared a jihad on pipelines on the theory that if you choke off delivery you can eventually choke off production” of fossil fuels. My apologies to Brendan Keating.]
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