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Why to prefer pipelines


Want to protect Pennsylvania’s environment and strengthen its economy? Build more pipelines.

Despite the emotion-filled protests charging that pipelines will doom our future — including a group of environmentalists who marched on the Governor’s Mansion in February — the facts tell a different story. Pipelines are safer than any other mode of transporting fuel. When pipelines carry natural gas, they reduce carbon emissions and global warming. And the pipeline industry supports thousands of family-sustaining jobs.

There are few places where the positive economic impact of the natural gas pipeline boon is more obvious than in Pennsylvania. At least 80,000 men and women are employed in extracting and distributing shale natural gas, according to the Governor’s Office. Industry groups, such as the Marcellus Shale Coalition, put that figure much higher, with at least a quarter-million jobs supported by the sector.

Many of these jobs were created as the Great Recession ravaged the labor market, providing a desperately needed lifeline for thousands of working people. And they continue to provide work in some areas of the state that have long been starved of economic development. These are typically good jobs, providing good pay and benefits, as well as training that open the doors to new opportunities and lifelong careers for workers. In short, pipelines and natural gas will have created nearly $20 billion in economic activity for the state by 2020, including billions of dollars in wages, according to a state House study.

The greatest danger associated with transporting fuel isn’t pipelines — it’s trucks and trains.

According to a ProPublica study, the difference is deadly: Fatality statistics comparing truck transport vs. pipelines showed oil pipelines are about 70 times safer than distribution by trucks, and common sense would indicate the statistics would hold true for natural gas as well. Today’s pipelines can be safer than ever, when constructed with the most highly skilled workforce available. They are state-of-the art, with remote monitoring and automatic shut-off technology. Not only are pipelines safer, they are how we can continue to provide consumers with affordable energy.

For many in the more extreme environmentalist corner, safety concerns are but a ruse to hide a real goal of reducing carbon emissions by blocking any and all energy projects. Yet their position on this collides with reality as well. Natural gas emits 50 to 60 percent less carbon than coal, and significantly less than oil, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. In fact, the growth of natural gas use is largely responsible for a reduction in U.S. carbon emissions between 1997 and 2013.

Will there ever be incidents involving pipelines? Of course there will, as there are with anything created by people. But the facts make the case that transporting energy by pipeline is the safest, most environmentally friendly distribution method available, and one that also fuels our economy.

For the working people of Pennsylvania — who rely on energy jobs to feed their families, to maintain access to affordable fuels and who also care about our environment — the natural gas industry and its associated pipelines are crucial to a sustainable future.

Dennis Martire is vice president and Mid-Atlantic regional manager of the Laborers’ International Union. This was written with Phillip Ameris, Ryan Boyer and Anthony Siewell, who lead Pennsylvania’s three District Councils of Laborers.

8 Comments on "Why to prefer pipelines"

  1. rockman on Sun, 2nd Apr 2017 6:26 pm 

    Pipelines don’t kill people…people kill pipelines. LOL.

  2. Plantagenet on Sun, 2nd Apr 2017 7:42 pm 

    After Obama blocked the Keystone Pipeline, the Ds have now made opposition to oil pipelines an article of faith….even though transporting oil by trains and trucks is much more dangerous and emits more CO2.

    Its like the wackiness in using corn to make biofuel. It actually takes MORE energy to make gasoline with ethanol then just to use gasoline, but the liberals have abandoned common sense to promote ethanol in gasoline



  3. Apneaman on Sun, 2nd Apr 2017 8:34 pm 

    “Why to prefer pipelines”?

    Really? 3 authors to write this piece and no one noticed the headline reads like it was written by a drooling retard (or average Texan) with a recent head injury?

  4. Anonymouse on Sun, 2nd Apr 2017 10:18 pm 

    And quickly generated a stock response by at least one of own very own in-house drooling retards.

    Hey, how this about this plantytard?

    Why to like say obama did it

    Why to like oil glut.

    cheerio moron.

  5. Midnight Oil on Mon, 3rd Apr 2017 12:49 am 

    Really Rockman, tell us all how you kill snapping turtles? Or maybe a gator or a water moccasin? That might be more entertaining and instructive to us here than what you normally post. Golly, there nation is ready for another hillbilly show and tell. You know, like Turtle Man

  6. Theedrich on Mon, 3rd Apr 2017 1:53 am 

    More drivel from M.O. and Man-Ape. Just about any Tourette-Syndrome outburst can be expected from suchlike.  Pipelines are obviously the safest, best job-promoting method of transporting fluids from A to B.  But nihilists will ejaculate any kind of absurdity or profanity in the hope that if they throw enough mud at a wall, some of it is bound to stick.

  7. deadlykillerbeaz on Mon, 3rd Apr 2017 6:23 am 

    The very first pipeline that was built was nine miles long and made of dimension lumber formed into channels.

    The Teamsters opposed the pipeline, vandalized it, they wanted the business of hauling oil in 42 gallon barrels, so they would wreck the work done, the Luddites they were back then.

    Then the railroads got involved with hauling oil in tank cars.

    Oil is a resource and is transformed to usable energy. If you have enough knowledge, you can build engines, mount engines on frames, add wheels, transmissions, differentials, drawbars and get some real work done out in the fields of the earth.

    Oil has the capacity to eliminate a lot of dreaded drudgery on this earth, and that is a fact, Jack. Don’t knock it.

    How much is enough? “Just a little bit more,” said John D. Rockefeller.

    John D. Rockefeller got together with the railroad tycoons and made deals to haul oil by rail. Rockefeller was as greedy a capitalist that ever existed. All lies, really. Probably generated by those evil Demon-rats, no doubt.

    What about those extinct Democrats, the poor wretches they’ve become?

    Democrats oppose anything and everything. They’re liberal, you know.

    They also suffer from oppositional deficit disorder. Makes them dysfunctional.

    Fortunately for the rest of humanity, nobody has to pay attention to them at all, and nobody wants to hear anything they say… at all.

    Nobody wants to hear any of it anymore, go away, don’t come back.

    Enough of them thar Demon-rats.

    See ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya!

  8. Southwest_PA on Mon, 3rd Apr 2017 12:49 pm 

    The cluelessness of this author is hard to fathom. I’m smack in the middle of the Marcellus, and I have yet to see a truck or a train carrying natural gas. LP gas, yes, but not straight-up NG. The author conflates natural gas with oil with “fuel” with “energy” in the sloppiest way.
    Of course gas pipelines don’t make spills. But they do blow out and sometimes explode; we’ve seen both within 50 miles of here in the last year or two.

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