If the agency allows pollution and bars challenges to its rulings, who or what is it protecting?
The Philadelphia City Council approved the plan to build a Liquid Natural Gas Plant. This is the keystone of a project to bring PA natural gas to the world energy market when the long view says we should keep it in the ground for the sake of the planet and the interests of most PA citizens.
The promise of a revenue stream prompted the decision. Like so many energy decisions we make daily, this one has a cost to future generations that we can ignore for the moment. Who will notice or be able to measure the incremental impact on climate deterioration? For Philadelphia it a freebee – a simple vote “yes” yields an economic benefit.
But it also paves the way for a chain reaction of accelerated fracking, more pipelines, and cheap fossil fuel and indestructible plastic waste. All of these have long-term adverse impact on Pennsylvania residents and longer-term impacts on global progress toward a sustainable energy system.
Our state and federal government provide both cash and less obvious forms of support for the fossil fuel industry. Among these is the privilege of degrading the environment, acquiring right-of-way through eminent domain, and destructively using infrastructure built at public expense without direct compensation to those affected.
The current PSE Quarterly documents some of the ways quality of life is harmed by extraction operations.
Burning trash is not the answer to energy. You probably knew that, but just to bolster your understanding of the local consequences, here’s an article from the Guardian.
“The 2018 edition of the Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking updates the rapidly expanding evidence indicating harm to health from fracking and methane infrastructure.”
The op-ed below (We Don’t Need Another Superfund Site) expresses the sentiments of many in Bucks County. Putting toxic wase processing in a floodplain on the banks of the Delaware is foolish. The reason these things are subject to regulation and permitting is because they are dangerous and require public permission for the risk.
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The legislators and courts of Pennsylvania are on the side of the fossil fuel developers and are supporting the development of pipelines through privately owned lands. Using the sovereign power of eminent domain to take the land from its owners, the state enables pipeline developers to get their toxic product to market. This is not for the benefit of the people of Pennsylvania, but for the special interests that are extracting the natural gas and selling it for profit.
When eminent domain is used to provide highways, public transportation, or the delivery of needed utilities people generally grudgingly accept that it is justified for the greater good of all. But this is not even remotely the case here. There is a surplus of gas. The new pipelines have a purely commercial purpose. And that purpose is not in the public interest. Burning that gas, or making plastic from it, anywhere on the planet creates hazards to health that will persist for generations. It should stay in the ground, and Pennsylvania should not be compelling people to sell their land for pipelines.
We can’t help but sympathize with Ellen Gerhart and others whose lives and homesteads are being savaged. (Click to read article)
For the same reasons that you don’t want a locomotive in your backyard you probably don’t want a pipeline compressor station. This article describes the problems with noise and pollution of the air. Sometimes citizens are asked to deal with the harm done because it is in the larger public interest to allow such things. But pipelines do not qualify for such sacrifice. Continue reading
Gerrymandering is one of the anti-democracy tactics politicians use to protect themselves from accountability for the favors they do for the energy industry. Here is an opportunity to speak up for yourself and your community.