Everyone is aware of Obama’s suppression of the Keystone XL pipeline project. But the legal, regulatory, and PR assault against critical infrastructure construction goes far beyond this. WSJ reports that:
Many major fossil-fuel projects across the U.S., from pipelines to export terminals, have been shelved or significantly delayed because of a confluence of new regulations, grass-roots opposition and a drop in energy prices. Overall, more than a dozen projects, worth about $33 billion, have been either rejected by regulators or withdrawn by developers since 2012, with billions more tied up in projects still in regulatory limbo.
Among the projects that the WSJ article identified as ‘cancelled’ were the $875MM ‘Constitution’ gas pipelines for the Northeastern US and the $3 billion “Northeast Direct” for the same region.
Natural gas is, of course, a major source for generating electricity, and the only practical way of getting the gas to the power plants is via pipeline.
(The CEO of New England’s power grid operator), said pipeline) projects are badly needed. Residential consumers in New York and New England paid between 5% and 41% more than the national average for natural gas in March, the latest month for which data were available. They also paid more for electricity, which itself is increasingly made with natural gas.
When I was in Georgia recently, I saw a very professionally done brochure calling for the suppression of a pipeline project–I believe this was the Kinder Morgan Palmetto pipeline. This was not your typical political or ‘activist’ direct-mail piece; it was of high printing and photography quality and I’d be surprised if these pieces cost less than a dollar each to produce. Considerable money is being devoted to ‘stop the infrastructure construction’ movements across the country.
Here’s the great French scientist Sadi Carnot, writing in 1824:
To take away England’s steam engines to-day would amount to robbing her of her iron and coal, to drying up her sources of wealth, to ruining her means of prosperity and destroying her great power. The destruction of her shipping, commonly regarded as her source of strength, would perhaps be less disastrous for her.
(I’ve written several earlier posts on the ‘Powering Down’ theme; summaries and links here.)
Disclosure: I’m an investor in gas, oil, and other pipelines.