A recent guest column published in the Hays Free Press targeting the Permian Highway Pipeline (PHP) failed to make note of pipeline safety at large and ignores the realities of their need in the Permian shale formation.
In the column, Trinity Edwards Springs Protection Association (TESPA) director Patrick Cox described the Permian Highway Pipeline (PHP) as “a perilous and unprecedented threat to the Texas Hill Country,” despite overwhelming evidence otherwise – a claim that couldn’t be further from the truth.
According to the Texas Railroad Commission, the Lone Star state has the largest pipeline infrastructure in the nation with nearly 470,000 miles of gathering and transmission lines for natural gas and oil. Mapping by the Commission also shows that there are at least 7 other pipelines safely operating in Hays County currently; a fact that was conveniently omitted in the guest column. These pipelines operate safely 365 days a year, 24/7, without notice. To think the PHP would fall under different standards, operating procedures, and regulatory oversight that would make it less safe than industry standard or others operating in the county and region is naïve.
On that point it should be noted that companies must receive permits and clearance from multiple federal and state agencies to build, maintain, and operate a pipeline. Multiple bodies review projects like PHP and include, but are not limited to: the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), the Texas Railroad Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and others at the local level.
Second, the PHP Project would provide a needed outlet for the vast amount of natural gas produced in the Permian Basin, where natural gas production has more than doubled in the past decade according to the Dallas Federal Reserve.
The pipeline will also help abate transportation bottlenecks and subsequent flaring practices in the region. Flaring is the burn off of excess natural gas that is produced during oil drilling. Reducing flaring in turn curbs methane and carbon dioxide emissions – a key win for environmental conservation.
Finally, pipelines remain the backbone of America’s energy infrastructure, especially in the Lone Star state. The PHP would help enable nearly $1 billion in additional oil and gas production tax revenues per year that would benefit the state and public services like schools and first responders in counties surrounding the pipeline. Additionally, the PHP is expected to support as many as 2,500 local construction jobs.
Efforts to delay the project will hamper the Texas economy and could negate the state’s position as America’s energy powerhouse. As PHP moves towards completion, it is important to keep in mind that pipelines are the safest mode of transporting the energy that consumers rely on every day, especially compared with rail or truck alternatives – both of which are riskier and present additional environmental concerns.
The Permian Highway Pipeline is key to providing consumers with affordable, safe energy while paving the path to a more efficient energy future. Now is not the time to second-guess the facts and impressive safety record of our modern energy infrastructure network.