Source – Penn Live
Pipelines and the fossil fuels they transport are often viewed as controversial in the media. Environmental justice advocates often say they’re at odds with the environment or bad for mankind, contending that the modern shale boom is something to be feared rather than celebrated.
However, these opinions considered as facts are based on inaccurate information. Pipelines are safe for people and the environment.
More importantly, the energy transported by pipelines significantly impact our wellbeing. These facts are especially important to explore at a time when Pennsylvania welcomes construction of several major pipelines across the state.
Pipelines get the energy to market quickly and safely. Major pipeline companies are committed to safety, often times exceeding federal requirements and industry standards through rigorous inspections, testing, and ever-advancing technology.
According to the Consumer Energy Alliance, federal data shows that crude oil and refined products reached its destination safely across the board in 2015. The same applied to natural gas pipelines in 2014.
Further, gas pipeline leaks dropped 94 percent between 1984 and 2012. As technology improves, the numbers will only continue to get better – both in terms of safety and in terms of energy connectivity.
Pipelines are designed to safeguard the environment. As a structure that is almost totally buried underground, they are designed with multiple layers of safety features working together to mitigate impact to the environment and protect sensitive environmental areas.
These safety features utilize smart inspection technology and on-sight inspections to ensure system integrity. This should all be great news for any environmental justice advocate.
Pipelines make our lives better in countless other ways. They grow our economy by creating thousands of good-paying jobs for those in construction, electrical, and welding trades. In a study by IHS Economics and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), new pipeline construction added over 347,000 jobs to the American economy in 2015.
Pipeline infrastructure also allows oil and gas supply to better meet demand, which lowers the price of fuel. That in effect leads to lower prices of utilities and everyday products derived from petroleum and natural gas like medicines, smartphones, and toothpaste.
Families living paycheck to paycheck are the most sensitive to such expenses. Saving a few bucks at the pump, on a gas bill, and at the grocery store might make all the difference to a single, working mother struggling to afford day care for her children or to a father stressed about making the mortgage payment on time.
The same IHS and a separate NAM study found that shale gas production put over $1,000 back in the pockets of the average American family in 2015. Suffice to say, the shale boom and pipeline construction has dramatically improved the lives of Americans.
In Pennsylvania, several pipelines have been approved by regulators and are either under construction or awaiting construction, including the Mariner East 2 and the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline. These pipelines bring jobs and economic growth to the state.
Pipeline construction shouldn’t be a controversial or a divisive issue. They are an environmentally friendly and safe way to transport the energy that powers everyday lives.
New energy infrastructure will fundamentally improve lives in Pennsylvania and surrounding areas through job creation and lower prices for consumers. Given these facts, pipeline construction starts to look a lot less political and a lot more like a moral imperative for mankind.
Craig Stevens is the spokesperson for Grow America’s Infrastructure Now, a national coalition focused on promoting key infrastructure investments.