Quick Takes: Phily to Create ‘Pitch Book’ to Sell Rural Areas on Gas Pipelines

With the Keystone XL pipeline on the ropes, natural-gas pipeline proponents in Pennsylvania are trying to get in front of local opposition. The “pitch book” will be used with local governments that have a say in permitting pipelines to carry Marcellus Shale gas.

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Residents say this photo shows uncontrolled soil runoff from the recently cleared Rock Springs pipeline right of way running into Fishing Creek during a rainstorm. Photo by David Jones.
Residents say this photo shows uncontrolled soil runoff from the recently cleared Rock Springs pipeline right of way running into Fishing Creek during a rainstorm. Photo by David Jones.

The Keystone XL pipeline has gotten the headlines, but pipeline resistance in rural areas is not limited to Nebraska or the Midwest.

In Pennsylvania, opponents of a shale-gas pipeline are causing pipeline proponents to alter their playbook as they work to convince rural areas to allow the energy projects to pass through their communities.

The pipeline proponents are in Philadelphia – the place where developers hope access to cheap Marcellus Shale gas will reinvigorate manufacturing.

Opponents are in the rural areas – the places through which the pipelines would pass, carrying natural gas to fuel the Philadelphia economy.

Susan Phillips of State Impact reports:

“It’s hard to find things that are more controversial than siting pipeline and infrastructure,” said [Phil] Rinaldi [of Philadelphia Energy Solucations]. “So the Greater Philadelphia Energy Action Team is out trying to condition that battlefield as [we] move forward.”

Rinaldi knows he’s got a problem in places like Lancaster and Chester counties, where opposition to new pipelines has been fierce. And he said he believes the pipeline expansion can be done in an environmentally responsible way.

“But that’s different than telling that story in some neighborhood that is gonna get disturbed because a pipeline is gonna come through the place,” he said. “And so we want to be fair about that.”

Philadelphia Energy Solutions CEO Phil Rinaldi (L), Philadelphia Gas Works CEO Craig White (C) and Philadelphia City Council President Darrell Clarke (R) share a moment before hearings on the future of Philadelphia as an energy hub earlier this year. Photo by Katie Colaner/State Impact Pennsylvania.
Philadelphia Energy Solutions CEO Phil Rinaldi (L), Philadelphia Gas Works CEO Craig White (C) and Philadelphia City Council President Darrell Clarke (R) share a moment before hearings on the future of Philadelphia as an energy hub earlier this year. Photo by Katie Colaner/State Impact Pennsylvania.

Rinaldi and others are preparing a “pitch book” to sell rural communities on permitting pipelines to run through their communities. The information will help Marcellus Shale gas proponents sell town and county governments on the positive aspects of allowing a pipeline to be built there. It will include the benefits of permitting the pipelines, Rinaldi said.

“And we don’t want to hide from the disturbances that we’re gonna cause,” he said. “But we want to shine some light on those disturbances to try to put them in a context, which is manageable. Because we all know there is definitely no free lunch. You gotta have something that you’re gonna pay to do this.”

Rinaldi said pipeline opponents are the political “fringe” – apparently not far enough on the fringe, however, if pipeline need a “pitch book” to sell their projects to local governments.

For a local take on the views of a pipeline opponent, we recommend the Coal, Corn & Country blog.

 

Topics: Ag and Trade
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