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OPINION

Evil Pipelines Opposed by Paperwork Blizzards

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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During the Obama presidency, the benefits of the Keystone Pipeline were obvious.  Blue collar union workers who were looking for employment in a limp economy would be put back to work.  America’s reliance on foreign oil was weakening the nation’s national security and opening up more of America’s resource abundance would end our dependence on the Middle East oil.  Opening up our reserves would lower the cost of energy.  Despite the clear rewards for the American people, the White House decided it was more important to appease the global warming lobby and their well-heeled contributors than to help hard-working families and the nation.  In a clear abuse of power the White House put approval of the pipeline on indefinite delay.

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The election of Donald Trump changed that. The newly-minted president quickly reversed course, approving the Keystone Pipeline and other critical energy projects to create economic growth, drive down energy costs and create energy independence.  In addition, the White House has rolled back job-killing regulations, many of which were designed to increase the price of energy, particularly oil, gas and coal.  From coal miners in West Virginia to pipe layers in Nebraska, the results have been predictably and remarkably positive. 

Now another proposed pipeline is under assault by the green left. The Atlantic Pipeline will bring plentiful natural gas from West Virginia and Pennsylvania to Virginia and North Carolina. The 600-mile pipeline, a $6 billion project, will provide 17,000 jobs, and nearly $3 billion in economic activity to the region.  Perhaps more importantly, the pipeline will bring cheap natural gas to power future economic development.

The forces of darkness, disguised as environmentalists, are up to their usual tricks. The Southern Environmental Law Center claims to have ten attorneys working tirelessly to delay the pipeline. In August, a 409-page appeal was filed with the fourth circuit federal court. According to its financial audit, the non-profit Southern Environmental Law Center has net assets in excess of $90 million.  Apparently the organization has not been impoverished by its activities.  The pipeline project has been frozen. All the i’s were not dotted and all the t’s were not crossed in the paperwork needed to approve crossing the highway known as the Blue Ridge Parkway.

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The idea that natural gas pipelines are an environmental threat requiring mountains of legal paperwork to protect the public is silly. Pipelines are underground and rarely cause problems. The legal mumbo-jumbo will accomplish nothing except endless delay.

The development of fracking and the resultant flood of low cost natural gas is a bonanza for the U.S. Natural gas is a wonderful fuel. It burns cleanly and can be transported inexpensively by pipeline. Instead of importing natural gas we now export natural gas. The politically powerful environmental community is characterized by virulent hatred of everything that makes our lives better and more prosperous. These are the true hate groups. They hate us because the country is improving the environment and increasing its wealth in spite of the efforts of the prominent environmental groups to throw sand on the gears. These organizations are as worthless as the wind power and solar power that they promote as an offering to the global warming gods.

The environmental hate groups enjoy credibility in their campaign to kill the fossil fuel industry only because they claim to have an alternative in the form of wind and solar energy. But that alternative is a clever scam. Because wind and solar generate electricity erratically, depending on the weather, they have to be backed up by traditional generating plants. Ironically the backup plants are usually powered by natural gas. Wind or solar are subsidized to the tune of 70 percent as a consequence of having a duplicate conventional plant lurking in the shadows. By ignoring these backup plants and the many direct subsidies, environmental propaganda has convinced many people that wind and solar are actually useful alternatives rather than useless parasitic attachments to the electric grid.

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