Earl Baker: New Environmental Film Embraces Domestic Terrorism

Writing in Real Clear Energy, Earl Baker, a former Pennsylvania state senator and former Chester County Commissioner, examined a new Hollywood movie that glorifies eco-terrorism. “How to Blow up a Pipeline” was released this spring, based on the book of the same name by Swedish Marxist Andreas Malm. The film criticizes climate activists’ pacifism and approach to protesting, advocating for strategic property destruction, such as destroying pipelines.

The glorification of terrorism is a dangerous “shot across the bow” for those who value reliable and secure energy. Baker writes, “the radical environmental activists who would do harm to pipelines would be hard pressed to explain how they could achieve their goals without natural gas and the energy infrastructure that underpins its delivery.” The hypocrisy of the movie’s producers, directors, actors and audience is om full display with this statement. Without the very resources these fictional protestors seek to destroy, their methods—thankfully—would never come to fruition.

Compared to moving fuels by rail or by truck, pipelines are the safest and most efficient form of transporting the materials. Therefore, targeting this type of infrastructure also makes little logical sense if the goal is to increase awareness of climate change. If the pipelines were out of service, oil and gas would be moved by less safe methods, making an accident or disaster more likely.

Whether serious or satire, the movie does a disservice to the energy industry that provides the lifeblood of the American economy. It is true that real like pipeline protestors have engaged in acts of terrorism, but the victims have not been “evil energy companies” but instead, “innocent farmers across the country who have had their crops destroyed, cattle killed and have been subjected to threats,” Baker says. “Such stories serve as an important reminder that the drama that Hollywood portrays on screen is often out of sync with realities on the ground.”

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