J. Peder Zane writes in The News & Observer today how “The Atlantic Coast Pipeline will be good for North Carolina.” Snippets:
[T]he Atlantic Coast Pipeline [is a] 600-mile natural gas pipeline that would deliver 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day to Virginia and North Carolina.
It will help ensure a necessity we just take for granted – reliable power. Fossil fuels remain the irreplaceable engine of every modern convenience; they are the chief reason life is no longer short, nasty and brutish.
The project is already a year behind schedule as the environmental lobby uses political pressure, the courts and often misleading information to stall a worthy project. … The latest obstacle is the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality’s request for more information about the plan’s economic benefits.
Despite the pipeline receiving a favorable environmental assessment from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Gov. Roy Cooper has been quietly trying to stall the project for months. This suggests to me that he wishes to please his environmental constituency but knows the issue wouldn’t sit well with most people.
For the governor to choose an interest group over the the best interests of the people of North Carolina is bad leadership. He should be direct with the people and either try to persuade them or simply recognize the real issues at play. He should not hide behind a state agency playing games with cynical stalling tactics.
Zane points out that the pipeline spill rate (0.66 per billion ton-miles) is much, much less than other ways used to transport natural gas, railways (2.20) and roads (7.11). He also notes that renewable energy sources are dependent upon the whims of nature and aren’t anywhere near large enough nor reliable enough to be a steady source of power across the state.
Natural gas is, moreover, a clean-burning source of electricity with the real-world results Cooper’s pressure group affects to want:
One would never guess from press reports fretting about America’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate talks, but the United States has led the developed world in reductions of carbon dioxide emissions since 2006 (an 11 percent decline). Reduced economic activity because of the Great Recession explains some of this, but the real hero is the natural gas fracking boom.
The science is clear; natural gas is about twice as clean as coal. In 2003, coal accounted for half of all U.S. power generation; in 2015, it provided just one-third, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
This is not a response to government regulation. Instead, the EIA says it is “mainly a market-driven response to lower natural gas prices.”
Locker Room readers will find those concepts familiar:
- We don’t need to worry about withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord
- America’s — and North Carolina’s! — energy-based emissions have been declining all century
- Market forces, including technological change in energy exploration via hydraulic fracturing (fracking), are the reason energy-based emissions have been declining