Eco-Activist Promotes ‘Sabotage’ on Energy Projects, Gets Warm Media Welcome

This week, the NH Journal published a piece by Chris Woodard discussing Andreas Malm’s book “How To Blow Up a Pipeline.” In this book, Malm urges his fellow environmentalists to abandon their non-violent protests and embrace what he calls “intelligent sabotage”— destroying construction equipment, vandalizing worksites and, yes— blowing up pipelines.

Instead of receiving denunciations and reprimanding, Malm has become a media darling for his aggressive work. Both The New York Times and the L.A. Times Review of Books gave his violence-advocating book sympathetic, heroic coverage. And now one of the most prestigious names in media, The New Yorker, has featured him on its latest podcast.

However, as we have witnessed first hand in Pennsylvania, the problem is that calls for violence aren’t just rhetoric. They have led to real-life consequences.

In April 2018, vandals attacked construction equipment along the path of the Mariner East 2 pipeline in Pennsylvania. Sunoco Pipeline said there was “significant damage” and offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible. In real time, this flagrant violence affected the workers on the project, the company’s progress, and the timeline of completion to deliver reliable, affordable energy to Penssylvanians in need of it. 

Calls for vandalism against American energy infrastructure are dangerous, and credible news outlets should never serve as a mouthpiece for such rhetoric nor should sensible Americans be persuaded to take such action by the aggression of a malinformed writer. This is domestic terrorism and puts honest workers in harms way for doing their job.

Woodard ends with this key passage: 

“According to the INGAA, approximately one-third of the energy consumed in the United States travels through natural gas infrastructure. ‘Destroy it and 69 million homes, 5.5 million businesses, and 185,000 factories are caught in the wake. The New Yorker’s decision to amplify calls for acts of violence and sabotage in its recent podcast is reckless and unacceptable.’”