Conservatives and progressives unite on opposition to new pipelines
New pipelines have proven unpopular, unnecessary, and unsustainable in Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and now North Dakota. It would be hard to have missed the Obama Administration’s stay on construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline in response to public protest of expected impacts on water quality and the destruction of Native American cultural heritage sites. In February 2016, by refusing to hear the case, Kentucky’s supreme court effectively upheld the decision of a lower court to prohibit the use of eminent domain to acquire land for a pipeline. In April, Kinder Morgan suspended construction on a 350-mile pipeline after the Georgia State Legislature passed a bill that would have temporarily shut the project down; land owners concerned about environmental impacts from potential spills and losing land through eminent domain led the charge. In Massachusetts last month, the Supreme Judicial Court struck down a plan to charge electric companies for utilities’ investments in a new gas pipeline. Developers of new fossil fuel infrastructure have an uphill battle in front of them. For new pipelines, and other similar projects, to go forward they need to demonstrate not only that their construction and operation will provide public benefits but also that it will be consistent with state and federal climate laws.