Saturday, July 18, 2015

PennEast Pipeline’s ‘Economic Impact Statement’ Understates Benefits of its Pipeline

As part of its drive to get Federal Energy Regulatory (FERC) approval for it proposed natural gas pipeline through Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the PennEast Pipeline Company released an  economic impact study. As Lillian Shupe reports for the Hunterdon County Democrat:

The proposed PennEast pipeline will have lasting economic impact during and after its construction, according to a study released on Feb. 9.

The study was done by Drexel University School of Economics and Econsult Solutions, Inc., both in Philadelphia, Pa. for PennEast Pipeline Company, LLC.

Penneast has proposed a 114-mile-long natural gas pipeline from Pennsylvania to New Jersey. The pipeline would run through Hunterdon and into Mercer County. The project would provide gas markets in eastern Pennsylvania, southeastern Pennsylvania, and New Jersey with natural gas that is produced from Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania.

"We forecast the PennEast Pipeline Project to generate a significant positive economic impact in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, increasing economic activity and supporting new jobs. Construction and ongoing operations of the Project will be economically beneficial to the counties in which the pipeline will traverse and both states as a whole. In addition, the possibility for increased income derived from potentially lower energy bills could induce spending in the regional economy and spur an even broader and larger economic impact," the study concluded.

The PennEast project has generated a lot of opposition from the NIMBY/Environmentalist coalition. I have been active against this coalition and in support of PennEast’s pipeline, and you can peruse my activism here. You can also read my comments posted on the FERC website in support of the PennEast pipeline here. On this article about PennEast’s Economic Impact Statement, I left these comments:

Actually, the study vastly understates the economic value of the pipeline. Energy distributed across America by the existing half million miles of petroleum and natgas transmission pipelines and 2 million miles of natgas distribution pipelines provides the energy that every aspect of our lives depend on. Here’s one example: Our local supermarkets are well-stocked because of food delivered by trucks that run on diesel fuel and railroads that run mostly on diesel or natural gas. Every single one of us enjoys the benefits of this amazing pipeline network—and we, in fact, cannot do without them. Everywhere one looks, one sees a better life delivered by pipelines—which points to the moral value of pipelines, as well.

Yet, based on most of the arguments we hear from PennEast pipeline opponents, we in Hunterdon County can expect unprecedented catastrophe and the end of life as we know it if this single new, state-of-the-art natgas pipeline is built. And every argument advanced against this new pipeline could be used against all pipelines. So, here’s my question to PennEast pipeline opponents: Given the unmitigated disaster you say PennEast’s pipeline will bring, do you advocate the immediate shutdown of every mile of America’s pipelines? If not, then what is the basis for opposing the PennEast pipeline through your “backyard,” while continuing to enjoy the benefits of other pipelines?


I’ll cover some of the opposition comments posted under this article in my next few posts.

Related Reading:

Why Do We Need Pipelines?—Pipeline 101

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