Illegal Protest Activity Around Pipeline Puts Everyone In Danger

The Roanoke Times published an opinion editorial by James “Spider” Marks, a strategic advisor to the GAIN Coalition and retired U.S. Army major general highlighting recent pipeline protests on the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a $4.6 billion project that will transport natural gas from northwestern West Virginia to consumers in southern Virginia.

Protesters have grown out of control with their efforts to oppose the Mountain Valley Pipeline, setting fire to equipment, chaining themselves to excavators and even assaulting pipeline workers. These unlawful tactics put pipeline workers, law enforcement, and community members at risk. Marks wrote:

“Activists may disagree about the importance of natural gas production and reliable energy infrastructure to transport fuels to American consumers in need, but breaking the law and putting innocent people at risk are not reasonable courses of action. Federal, state, and local regulators carefully review pipeline proposals before granting permits. These regulators welcome public input and concerns during a designated public comment period. Vigilante regulation is not a sustainable, or legal, option.”

Pipelines are the safest way to transport the oil and natural gas to American consumers. Natural gas is responsible for generating more than 35% of the United States’ electricity. But environmentalists around the country are protesting much-needed energy infrastructure projects without understanding how critical these projects are to meeting our nation’s energy needs. Marks noted:

“The activists protesting pipelines like Mountain Valley unrealistically contend that wind and solar will be able to replace sources like natural gas within the next decade, despite their current role of only producing little more than 8% of our electricity needs. Their environmental concerns fall flat when you consider that natural gas has served as a crucial bridge-fuel replacing less environmentally-friendly sources and helped lower carbon emissions from the U.S. power sector by nearly 30% since 2005.”

The GAIN Coalition encourages protesters to keep demonstrations peaceful and within the parameters of the law. Moving forward, it is important that our elected officials denounce illegal protest tactics that put innocent bystanders in danger. The GAIN Coalition looks forward to the safe, timely completion of the Mountain Valley Pipeline and its role in delivering natural gas to consumers in the Mid-Atlantic region.

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