Pa. Economist Comments on Environmental Issues and Property Values Associated with Pipeline Transportation

According to economist Kevin Gillen, pipeline opponents would have you falsely believe that pipelines are harmful to the environment and to individual households.

Gillen, on the other hand, maintains that the failure to construct the new energy capacity is in point of fact what enacts true harm. Pipeline transportation is not only more efficient and economically beneficial than such alternative forms as trains and trucks, but it is also the more responsible and safe choice as well.

Gillen elaborated that some of the most common misconceptions he had heard from people when it came to pipelines were that “building a pipeline anywhere can result in environmental damage and that it could result in a decrease in nearby property values as a consequence of increased energy infrastructure going through a residential area…In both cases, the answer is that it is generally not true.”


He detailed that not only was transport by pipeline cheaper and safer, but it has also found to have little to no adverse impact on property values nearby. The consulting firm Integra Realty Resource (IRR) recently released a study that supports these claims, wherein they examined home sales near and far from natural gas pipelines in four different states. Controlling for housing size and quality, the firm found that proximity to the pipeline did not hold a statistically meaningful impact on a home’s overall value or its probability of sale. Based on the analysis, IRR concluded further that, “there was no indication that the presence of a natural gas pipeline would hinder a buyer’s ability to acquire property insurance. They also said that there was no indication that premiums paid for insurance policies would increase because of the proximity to a natural gas pipeline.”

Gillen stressed that this was a matter of economics and safety. If local energy output is not transported by a pipeline, then producers will be forced to use existing road and rail infrastructure, which in turn would cause more harm to the households and environments near these incidents.