Friday, October 30, 2015

The PennEast Pipeline, Interstate Commerce, and the Right to Earn a Living

This is the second of my responses to two correspondents who replied to my comments on the article about the PennEast company’s proposed natural gas pipeline by Lehigh Valley Live’s John Sievers, which was the subject of my 10/28/15 post.

outdoor_places wrote:

“PennEast has not made a convincing argument that our region needs the gas that they will be bringing. It is likely for export. . .

“Where will much of this gas go?  I believe to markets outside NJ and PA and eventually for export.”

Fortunately, under our constitution, the federal government has the power to ensure the relatively free flow of commerce across state lines. But imagine if every local community can stop commerce at will, on any whim or parochial “interest.”

Everyone benefits from commerce passing through other communities, whether that commerce takes the form of trucks, trains, pipelines, power lines, or whatever. People along the proposed path of the PennEast pipeline wouldn’t have electrification, gasoline, food, or myriad other products that fill the shelves of local stores—or even natgas—if not for commerce that passes through countless other communities and states, or come from other countries. If every community had the power to halt commerce through their communities based only on “There’s nothing in it for me”, it would be NIMBYism run amok. We’d collapse back into pre-industrial poverty.

No one would be able to earn a living. It makes no difference where PennEast’s gas is marketed. National security aside, they have the right to sell to willing consumers wherever they may reside. Hopefully, PennEast’s pipeline will finally give me access to natgas, which I don’t now enjoy. But if not, so be it. Those of us living near pipelines have the right to be secure and safe on our property, but otherwise have an obligation to respect others rights to work and trade with each other, whether within a community or across the world.

Related Reading:

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

No comments: