The voters of Exeter, New Hampshire, voted to urge their town leaders to express opposition to the Granite Bridge natural gas pipeline under review by the state’s Public Utilities Commission.
“The safety risks of gas pipelines is evident in the recent leaks and explosions in Keene and Lawrence, Massachusetts,” Article 25 stated. “Furthermore, this fossil fuel project with its methane emissions and carbon dioxide is in opposition to the principles of Exeter’s ‘Right to a Healthy Climate Ordinance’ passed in 2010 and the Select board’s vote to support the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.”
There are three important points to remember: 1. Refusing to build the pipeline in New Hampshire will not reduce demand for natural gas; 2. The natural gas will still need to be transported, using less safe and reliable means, such as rail or trucks; and 3. Natural gas helps reduce carbon emissions into the environment.
Pipelines take the risk off our roads and rails, and have proven to be the safest method of transporting natural gas and oil. State-of-the-art technology and techniques paired with a rigorous permitting and approval process overseen by a variety of local, state, and federal regulators make pipelines the winner when it comes to maintaining the highest of safety standards. More than 2.4 million miles of pipeline seamlessly operate each day across the United States, unbeknownst to the majority of Americans.
Pipelines are significantly safer than other means of transport (such as rail and trucks). As a Fraser Institute study found:
Both rail and pipelines are quite safe, but pipelines are without a doubt the safest way to transport oil and gas.
In every year from 2003 to 2013, pipelines experienced fewer occurrences per million barrels of oil equivalent transported than did rail. Overall in this period, rail experienced 0.227 occurrences per million barrels of oil equivalent transported compared to 0.049 for pipelines.
This means that rail is more than 4.5 times more likely to experience an occurrence.
Additionally, the US Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) concludes that pipelines “enable the safe movement of extraordinary quantities of energy products to industry and consumers, literally fueling our economy and way of life.” The PHMSA also says pipelines are “one of the safest and least costly ways to transport energy products.”
Not only are pipelines the safest method of transport, natural gas is providing a more environmentally friendly source of energy.
A report commissioned by the Natural Gas Supply Association found “Over the past decade, there has been a significant reduction in the carbon intensity of the national electric supply, due in large part to an increase in gas-fired generation and a decrease in coal-fired generation. Similarly, despite the absence of a comprehensive national carbon policy or defined emission limits, emissions from the U.S. power sector have declined almost 20 percent since 2005, primarily driven by the shift to natural gas.”
The report concluded, “While natural gas produces some carbon emissions, these emissions are much lower than that released from even the newest and most advanced coal fired plant.”