Monday, June 6, 2016

Economic Benefits of the PennEast Pipeline Don’t Impress Pipeline Enemies

In an effort to gain public support for Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approval for a  proposed natural gas pipeline through Pennsylvania and New Jersey, New Jersey Business & Industry Association CEO Michele Siekerka posted a guest column in the New Jersey Star-Ledger titled PennEast Pipeline will pump dollars into N.J. businesses. She writes:

The dramatic cold experienced in our region over the last two winters [2013-14 and 2014-15] – and the corresponding increase in the cost to heat a home or business – only further illustrates a growing problem for both homeowners and businesses throughout New Jersey.

Studies have shown that if another pipeline existed in the region during the winter of 2013/2014, New Jersey businesses and families would have saved an estimated $378.4 million in energy costs in just that year alone.

Should there be any doubt as to the need for more affordable, clean, domestic energy, it should be put to rest by the fact that every utility in the state of New Jersey has signed on as a customer so that their consumers in New Jersey will have direct access to affordable, regional gas.

I left these comments:

The economic benefits are what makes the pipeline a moral undertaking, precisely because the pipeline energy improves human lives.

But the pipeline’s opponents don’t see it that way. Environmentalists, the leading opponents, don’t care about human improvement. Their concern is only with leaving the environment untouched in its natural state, because their standard of value is non-impact on nature, not human life. They’re not just against bad impacts. They oppose impact as such. Since man’s survival, comfort, and flourishing requires him to alter and improve the natural environment to make it livable, environmentalists stand in opposition to human life. It’s not that they seek cleaner, less impactful industrialization. They are opposed to human work and flourishing through technology and industry—to industrial development as such.

Environmentalists have forged an alliance with organized NIMBY groups. These people enjoy the direct and indirect benefits of energy delivered through the millions of miles of other pipelines that pass through other backyards around the nation. They enjoy the benefits of “preserved” lands funded by taxpayers. Yet, they hypocritically fight to stop the PennEast pipeline and the access to energy benefits that it will deliver to others.

There is even a mystical element to the pipeline opposition, where modern-day witch doctors perform prayer rituals for the rivers as if they are some supreme consciousness that possess intrinsic holy value that trumps the values that improve human life. The 35 people participating in this ritual along the Delaware should not be brushed off as a fringe group. The view of “Mother Earth” as some kind of organic entity of which humans are no more valuable to the whole than any other species is widely held. The river-worshippers are a derivative of that irrational and dangerous mysticism.

This unholy alliance of environmentalist anti-pipeline jihadists, NIMBY’s, and primitive witch doctors pose a threat to our long-term safety and well-being. This alliance operates all over the country, seeking to strangle pipeline development as part of a broader anti-energy agenda to end all forms of reliable, affordable energy, including fossil fuels, nuclear power, and hydro-electric infrastructure. Don’t be fooled by the alliance's beating of the drum for so-called “clean energy alternatives.” You can bet that, if the PennEast utility consortium proposed to build a string of hundreds of windmills along the pipeline route, with all of the required supporting infrastructure like access roads and transmission lines, the alliance would be fighting that, too—and for the same reasons.

People who value their lives, their children’s lives, and other’s lives generally should think about the immense indispensability of the energy this alliance is fighting against. Projects like the PennEast pipeline is not just an economic necessity but a moral imperative.

Another correspondent commented, “This pipeline is only wanted by those who would benefit financially from its approval. It is not needed or wanted in the state of NJ. . .”

Comments like these are common, and highlight the utter shallowness of much of the opposition’s arguments and the irrational bias against money making generally and profit-seeking specifically. I left this reply:

How do you know? Who are you to speak for everyone? The financial benefits don’t happen in a vacuum. They derive from consumers who do want the gas, and willingly buy it. If you don’t need or want the gas, don’t buy it. But don’t cruelly stand in the way of other people’s access to the energy they need and want.

Fortunately, there are long-sighted people who look years and decades in advance, and who are willing to invest $billions in infrastructure so that they can financially benefit by meeting our energy needs in 2017 and 2025-26 and beyond, not just in 2015-16.

Related Reading:

The ‘Jihad on Pipelines,’ New Jersey Front

1 comment:

Mike Kevitt said...

What impresses the pipeline enemies is nature untouched by human thinking. Return of the entire world to that would give them what would impress them more than anything.