Pipelines in Pennsylvania necessary despite shared climate concerns, industry says

Earlier this week, the Pennsylvania House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee held a two-hour hearing to investigate the economic benefits of the Keystone State’s 1,000-plus miles of gas pipelines. The consensus was, Pennsylvania’s extensive network of natural gas pipelines will remain necessary for the next 30 years, even as the industry said it shares the growing worldwide concerns about fossil fuels’ impact on climate change. 

As Marcellus Shale Coalition Pipeline Safety Workgroup’s chairman, Keith Coyle, stated “My advice would be that we can’t solve a climate crisis by creating an energy crisis. As long as we are relying on fossil fuels to produce power, we need pipelines to deliver them safely.” It’s simple: until there is a more effective option, fossil fuels must be transported by safe conduits like pipelines to keep the world turning. Paul Hartman, a senior policy advisor for API who testified as well, said fossil fuels will represent up to 70% of the nation’s energy mix for the next 30 years, even as the federal government pursues decarbonization policies on a broader scale. Since we’re going to be relying on natural gas and petroleum for the foreseeable future; we must invest in the best infrastructure to support supply.

Testifiers from the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Association and the Association of Pipelines, and others were also in attendance at the trial. These entities reminded the committee that natural gas production has not only made Pennsylvania a top energy exporter, but lowered harmful greenhouse gas emissions and decreased the nation’s dependency on foreign oil.

Throughout the hearing, testimonies were interrupted by climate activists from the Better Path Coalition, who called out references to the U.N. report, compared the committee hearing to “a dog and pony show” and accused Republican Chairman Daryl Metcalfe, R-Cranberry Township, of “fearing the voice of Pennsylvanians.” Metcalfe had the activists removed from the hearing for interrupting the official proceeding.

Because of the way the global energy market currently operates, there is no better option than to move crucial energy safely through effective pipelines. Natural gas has contributed to a 30 percent reduction in CO2 emissions in Pennsylvania and will continue to provide the commonwealth with affordable energy for years to come.