A recent op-ed in the Des Moines Register by Paul Griffin highlights how legal setbacks for fossil fuel projects today can halt clean energy projects in the future. Recent setbacks for pipelines projects from Dakota Access to Keystone XL can set a precedent for the way U.S. energy projects are managed as environmental groups continue standing in the way of allowing affordable, safe, and reliable energy to serve Americans.
Griffin highlights how the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline can have disparaging consequences for energy growth:
“The recent cancellation of the much-need Atlantic Coast Pipeline only deepens this troubling trend for U.S. energy. In the case of that pipeline, activists were able to manipulate the convoluted permitting process and the court system at the local, state, and federal levels to effectively force Dominion Energy and Duke Energy to cancel the project.
“Had the infrastructure project been completed, it would have created more than 17,000 high-paying union jobs and generated up to $30 million in additional property tax revenue. Just as important, Virginia and North Carolina residents could have saved $377 million with cheaper energy from natural gas. With Americans reeling from COVID-19, shouldn’t we be doing everything possible to reduce financial burdens and open access to affordable, reliable, and clean energy?”
Millions of Americans have filed for unemployment in recent months and continue to struggle to make ends meet. While the Atlantic Coast Pipeline never got to see the light of day, legal challenges to the Dakota Access Pipeline, which has operated safely and efficiently for years, continue on:
“U.S. District Judge James Boasberg’s July 6 decision to vacate the project’s permits and empty the pipeline within 30 days is a crucial blow to a project that is already delivering massive benefits. Already in operation for three years, this $3.78 billion pipeline has increased North Dakota oil production by 50%, resulting in the safe delivery of 500,000 barrels per day of Bakken crude and generating more than $1.9 billion in labor income through the creation of 10,000 jobs.”
Additionally, the op-ed also notes that activists are challenging the Nationwide Permitting 12 program, a straightforward process allowing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to efficiently grant permits for pipelines and other key infrastructure projects. Removal of this process could not only strip 80 different oil and gas pipeline projects of their permits, but also threaten the authority of America’s top engineers and trained scientists who specialize in this work. Since when do we question a surgeon performing an operation or a teacher in a classroom?
The fact of the matter is that American consumers directly benefit from many of these crucial infrastructure projects that environmental activists continue to challenge. Impeding upon economic growth and reliable energy sets a poor precedent for the future of our nation’s energy industry.