Energy denials clogging pipelines

June 19, 2016

This commentary, from TImes Record (AK), was written by Robert L. Bradley Jr., founder and CEO of the Institute for Energy Research.

The United States has become the world's leading producer of oil and natural gas. By 2040, an estimated 80 percent of all U.S. energy consumption will be met by carbon-based energy. And the country could export as much oil as it imports within 15 years.

That is, if lawmakers don't fall under the sway of environmental extremists determined to block new pipeline projects and keep fossil fuels in the ground. Environmentalist Bill McKibben, founder of, recently noted that if fossil-fuel companies "can build those pipelines and mines, then for the next 40 or 50 years they'll be able to get carbon out cheaply enough to compete (and to wreck the planet)." If they can't, he adds, "the transition to clean energy (will become) irreversible.

Green radicals and government officials across the nation have been emboldened by McKibben's message — especially within the Obama administration. All other priorities — job creation, economic growth, energy affordability, and updating the nation's aging energy infrastructure — are taking a back seat.

But environmentalists' complaints about pipeline safety contradict the facts. According to the latest data, 99.999997 percent of natural gas was transported safely over the country's 300,000 miles of pipe. And natural gas production is actually helping the environment by replacing coal, which pollutes almost twice as much as natural gas, in power generation.

Crude oil pipelines also have a track record of safety. In 2013, 99.999 percent of the oil delivered by pipeline reached its final destination without incident. The oil industry has instituted numerous safety measures to prevent accidents, including new tools for evaluating equipment, stronger infrastructure, and more stringent inspections criteria.Yet government officials continually block pipeline projects that would create thousands of jobs, enhance the national grid and reduce energy costs for consumers.

Read entire commentary at Times Record.



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