Monday, August 24, 2015

Mulshine on the ‘National Anti-Pipeline Movement’

New Jersey Star-Ledger columnist Paul Mulshine ran a nice article last March 2015 regarding what he coined “national anti-pipeline movement.” In his article, Pipeline opponents' oily logic: The alternatives are much worse for the environment, Mulshine shredded the cause of the NIMBY/Environmentalists’ anti-pipeline movement. After noting the NJ Sierra Club’s call for more “investment” in solar and wind,  Mulshine wrote:

No, we don't. Wind and solar are incredibly inefficient compared to fossil fuels. Wind power sounds wonderful in theory. But it would take about 100 of those massive 360-foot wind turbines to equal the output of a typical conventional plant like Beesley's Point in Atlantic County - which the enviros are trying to shut down with another NIMBY campaign focusing on the perils of a proposed gas pipeline.

To equal that amount of power, you'd have to put a windmill on every decent-sized mountain in Northwest Jersey. Imagine climbing to the top of the Sourland range only to see a vast field of wind turbines - and the corpses of the hawks and eagles they kill.

The Sourland Mountain Range is a preserve that runs through Somerset and Hunterdon Counties in Central New Jersey. Mulshine tells us in his article about an excursion he took through the preserve. On a run, he came upon two pipelines running through the preserve—the Texas Eastern Pipeline and the Buckeye Pipeline. Mulshine observes that, if not for a few stakes identifying the location of the pipelines, he wouldn’t have known they were buried there.

I left these comments:

If Mr. Mulshine had ventured a little farther West on the Sourland Mountain range, he would have encountered evidence of another front in the War on Pipelines; lawn signs opposing the proposed PennEast natgas pipeline through Western Hunterdon and Mercer Counties. Here, too, another branch of the unholy alliance of NIMBY hypocrites and anti-industrial environmentalists is at work trying to stop the pipeline from being built and delivering life-giving energy to consumers. As usual, Jeff Tittel and his Sierra Club are leading the charge.

Of the two factions, the NIMBYs are the easiest to debunk and the least threatening: They are moral hypocrites for opposing pipelines in their back yards while continuing to enjoy the benefits of America’s 2.4 million mile pipeline network to sustain their lives. The “environmentalist extremists behind the anti-pipeline movement” are the much bigger danger, as they are driven by an irrational ideological opposition to reliable, plentiful, economical energy that human well-being and a liveable environment depends on. If they ever got their way, the human wreckage would be unimaginable.

I’ve been fighting my own personal battle against this alliance with article comments, letters to the Hunterdon County Democrat, and even a 3000 word post on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission website regarding FERC’s review of PennEast’s application, in which I rebut the main arguments advanced by pipeline opponents. Most of the PennEast opposition’s “logic” is just as illogical as Pilgrim’s opponents. On my daily 3-mile walk, I stroll right over the Transco easement in Readington, under which 3 major natgas transmission pipelines, surrounded by houses and farms, deliver vital energy to New Jerseyans. What’s so bad about Transco’s pipelines, especially when weighed against the enormous human benefits they deliver? I don’t get how anyone can believe the nonsense that PennEast’s pipeline would ruin the Sourland Mountain, as opponents claim in signs such as “Stop the Pipeline, Save the Sourlands.”

There is a valid concern about the threat of eminent domain powers being granted to pipeline companies. But given the overall vital necessity of pipelines, it’s a shame and a danger that more average energy consumers don’t speak up on behalf of pipelines.


Mulshine also mentions the NIMBY/Environmentalist opposition to the Pilgrim Pipeline proposal through Northeastern NJ. He observes that the goal of the national anti-pipeline movement is to shut down oil and gas drilling by killing the means of delivering the product to refineries and consumers. And then he concludes:

Then enviros say this is all necessary in an attempt to curb CO-2 emissions. But if they were really concerned with CO-2 they'd support nuclear power, which produces massive amounts of energy with zero emissions.

Instead they're engaged in a thinly disguised effort to bring economic progress to a halt in the name of the environment.

As for the NIMBYs, if they're really worried about the risks from pipelines, the first thing they should do is disconnect their houses from the natural gas lines that runs down their streets. If that stuff's so dangerous in the middle of the woods, why would you let it into your house?

Mulshine concludes, “As for me, I'm glad the pipelines are there.” So am I. So should anyone who values their comfortable, safe, enjoyable lives the energy from these pipelines deliver.

Related Reading:

Climate Change or Not, Humans Need Reliable, Economical Energy—and the Pilgrim Pipeline

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