Forbes recently published a comprehensive overview by industry expert David Blackmon highlighting ongoing pipeline construction across the country and extreme levels of opposition these important projects continue to face. According to Blackmon, although these protests are not receiving the national media attention that those of Dakota Access experienced, they are still disrupting the safe completion of a number of critical pipelines.
Blackmon goes into detail on pipeline challenges from the East Coast, to the Dakotas, to the bayous of Louisiana. Tactics have escalated against specific projects in some areas, while are seemingly counterintuitive in others. In Minnesota, for example, protesters of Enbridge’s Line 3 blocked a bridge for several hours. However, there is no Line 3-related construction going on anywhere in the state. In Louisiana, landowners filed a suit to halt the construction of Bayou Bridge, questioning the developer’s ability to build on private land under the state’s expropriation law. These are just a couple instances of the mounting hurdles much-needed pipelines are facing. Blackmon emphasizes the need for the continued expansion of modern energy infrastructure, stating:
All of this is so counterproductive and frankly, ill-advised. These pipelines are without question the safest, most efficient and most environmentally-friendly way to move oil and natural gas to the markets they serve, and the demand for the products they transport is strong and growing stronger. While all of these pipelines will ultimately end up being completed, time is money in the midstream business, and these delays and work stoppages only serve to raise the cost of energy for everyone, while doing little if anything to protect the environment.
Simply put, the reality is the US needs an extensive, and reliable, network of pipelines in order to safely and efficiently deliver energy products to consumer markets around the country. Many environmental activists have continued to ignore the facts, including the impressive safety ratings of pipelines and considering the riskier alternative transport options. Having been unsuccessful in their efforts to “keep it in the ground,” activists have directed their efforts toward preventing the means of safely transporting it to market.
GAIN echoes Blackmon’s assertion that the US needs strong energy infrastructure. It is time for US officials to promote investment in our critical infrastructure and ensure safe and timely completion of our pipelines.