By David Shipley, Bloomberg View, November 10, 2016
A pipeline in North Dakota has become a rallying cry for protesters seeking to stop new fossil fuel projects. Their goal — reducing emissions — is the right one, but their methods –opposing and sabotaging pipelines — are wrong.
Maybe the pipeline, which once completed would carry oil to a shipping terminal in Illinois, needs to be rerouted to protect sources of local drinking water, or to respect the rights of a nearby Sioux Native American tribe. President Barack Obama suggested as much last week. That’s a far less drastic solution than outright abandonment of the project.
The main problem with the movement to block new oil and gas projects is that it ignores two basic facts. First, the U.S. still needs fossil fuels, and getting gas and oil domestically helps the U.S. move toward energy security. And second, the increased production of natural gas has done more than any government policy to reduce the use of coal in America. And coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel.
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