By Tommy Foltz, January 30, 2017
The people of Louisiana have read quite a bit about the Bayou Bridge Pipeline - much of it negative, with an assumptive tone of environmental disaster. It's time they heard the truth. There are many reasons to support pipelines. They transport natural gas and fuel used to generate electricity, power cars and make everyday products like clothing, paint, carpeting, plastics and much more. Pipelines also create jobs, bolster tax revenue, increase economic growth, boost energy security and self-sufficiency, reduce costs and strengthen U.S. geopolitical influence.
That certainly holds true with the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, which would generate 2,500 jobs, use locally made materials and services and transport 280,000 barrels of oil that would help diversify supplies for refineries and provide affordable, reliable energy to families and businesses in Louisiana. But pipelines also help safeguard the environment. How exactly? The Energy Information Administration says that world energy consumption will increase at least 48 percent by 2040, with fossil fuels supplying more than three-quarters of energy use even as renewable and nuclear power remain the world's fastest-growing energy sources. Other analyses project similar forecasts. That means we're going to need a lot more energy to cool our refrigerators, heat our homes, power our smartphones and fuel our vehicles - including the ones protesters drove to attend a hearing on the pipeline earlier this month in Baton Rouge. The banners, posters and shirts that protesters used and wore also required petroleum-made products to make.
Moving energy without pipelines increases the risk to the environment. Studies show that transporting energy by pipeline is 4.5 times safer than moving the same volume across the same distance by other means, like truck or rail, and that 99.999 percent of energy moved via pipeline safely reaches its destination. Also, fewer pipelines means increased vehicular traffic, which increases air emissions and the chances of an accident or spill. This makes proposals like the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, 88 percent of which would parallel existing infrastructure, that much more important to the region, economically and environmentally. The facts are the facts. We're going to need more energy to meet growing demand, and renewable energy can't do it alone. We're also going to need more jobs and economic opportunity for local families and businesses. And pipelines remain the best way of delivering all the above, safely.
executive vice president, Consumer Energy Alliance
Little Rock, Arkansas
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