By Stephen Moore
If the "liberal" green movement had the political power during earlier periods of our nation's history that it has now, we would not have built the railroads. Also, there would be no interstate highway system, and the electric grid system that powers our country would be disconnected and shattered.
What else can one conclude when a significant and vital energy pipeline, the 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline from West Virginia into the southern states, has been canceled because of environmental activist opposition? Another pipeline, the Dakota Access Pipeline, has been suspended by a federal judge's order in recent days. Even the urgently needed Keystone XL Pipeline, which will transport natural gas and oil from energy-rich areas in Canada and the Dakotas down to Houston for export and delivery across the country, faces a court-ordered injunction. These actions are all said to be in the name of wetlands preservation, Endangered Species Act issues and other environmental protections.
It isn't safeguarding the safety of our nation. It is sabotaging it.
Pipelines are the most environmentally safe way to transport America's oil and gas resources across the country. They are vital infrastructures that enable America to be the world's energy superpower and make us no longer reliant on Saudi Arabia, Russia and other hostile OPEC countries. The alternative to pipelines is trucks and rail cars, which crash, derail and explode.
The crusade to stop pipelines has nothing to do with clean air or clean water. Natural gas is a wonder fuel. It is cheap, abundant, made in America and clean-burning. The fracking revolution that gave us low-cost natural gas has done more to reduce carbon emissions in the United States than all environmental groups since the beginning of time. It is an environmental blessing.
Let's be honest about what is going on here: The left hates fossil fuels and uses any tactic it can to stop energy development. They want to force America to use "renewable" wind and solar power, both of which are unreliable as stand-alone energy sources. They are also multiple times more expensive ways to generate power. More expensive energy makes everything else America produces more costly and less competitive in global markets.
Liberals say they care about working-class people, but between 5 million and 10 million jobs would be lost without U.S. access to abundant oil, gas and coal resources, according to the American Petroleum Institute. These are mostly union jobs and would be put at risk. At least 1.5 million would be put at risk in states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and other Midwestern states if the Marcellus Shale "shale revolution" were to end. But when the greens are pitted against the blues (blue-collar workers), the Democrats choose their precious environmental friends. This year, Joe Biden admitted that he is willing to lose thousands of oil and gas jobs to "go green." So much for "Lunch Bucket Joe."
The absurdity of the pipeline bans is that we don't have a cheap way to transport oil and gas from Ohio and middle Pennsylvania to significant urban Northeastern areas such as New York, Boston and the rest of New England. Without a pipeline, these cities may have to continue to import natural gas from Vladimir Putin in Russia. How is that in America's interest?
Free market advocates want to continue to drill here in the U.S., where we have at least 200 years of extractable energy resources, provide low-cost energy to families and businesses, and save millions of high-paying, middle-class jobs. The greens want to shut it all down. Stopping pipelines is the first step toward choking off production and surrendering economic and energy power to our enemies.
Stephen Moore is a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation and an economic consultant with FreedomWorks. He is the co-author of "Trumponomics: Inside the America First Plan to Revive the American Economy." To find out more about Stephen Moore and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.