APR 4, 2018 @ 06:14 PM
By: Brigham A. McCown
Pipeline developers are finding it more difficult to build new projects these days, and that is despite the Trump Administration's heavy emphasis on infrastructure. What was once a sleepy industry that silently delivered nearly two-thirds of all energy products the country utilizes on a daily basis is now front and center stage.
While the legal and regulatory permitting processes for oil and gas pipelines have been more or less the same for years, the politics of pipelines have changed. Aggressive environmental protests and litigation, hostile state actions, and the leeway courts are giving pipeline opponents suggests that despite the need for new underground energy infrastructure, building new pipelines may not get any easier, and here are some reasons why.
Environmental activism, focused particularly on climate change and social justice issues, is intensifying. Over the past decade, fossil fuel opponents have honed their focus on blocking the infrastructure and related assets needed to bring fossil fuels to market. Indeed, the environmental community and other opponents have evolved into a well-organized and well-funded movement. This movement has armed itself with increasingly sophisticated and replicable tactics for organizing grassroots opposition capable of influencing federal, state, and local policymakers. Activists are cultivating ideological political allies while increasingly motivated wealthy donors have allowed these movements to increasingly mobilize in communities where new infrastructure projects are planned.