Although it is far from new, political theater has ramped up to do nothing more than entertain those who recognize it for the uselessness that it is. The big topic of late is pipeline security and efficiency. Being no stranger to scrutiny and skepticism, the pipeline industry finds itself in the middle of a proverbial volley of a ball back and forth over the net. Pipelines are good. No, they are bad. Pipelines are safe. We need to shut them down. Back and forth, the propaganda overflows.
Plagued by an incredibly obvious political agenda, the pipeline industry has been under siege since President Trump’s last day in office. Now, the industry finds itself victimized by the hypocrisy wagered by the Democratic party.
Starting with the Keystone XL
With one of those coveted Whitehouse writing instruments, Biden delivered a fatal blow to the Keystone XL Pipeline. Instantaneously, lives were turned upside down and families were forever changed. More specifically, Keystone XL was forced to cut more than 1,000 positions.
Defending the loss of jobs and the American Dream for many, several governmental officials pleaded with the Biden administration requesting the pipeline not be shut down. Senator Joe Manchin had rationalized that while the Keystone XL closure was a response to Biden’s climate change crisis, the oil would still find its way to the same recipients, but by alternate means of transportation.
“Pipelines continue to be the safest mode to transport our oil and natural gas resources, and they support thousands of high-paying American union jobs,” said Manchin.
This was a brilliant deduction made by the Senator and one of common sense that it seems many in the political arena fail to contain. This would come back to not bite the Democratic party but instead prove the point of hypocrisy that is increasingly being discovered by We the People enlisted as the audience.
Line 5 in the Limelight
Concern quaked, and panic began to ripple through the United States when the Colonial Pipeline found itself victim of a cyberattack. Shutdowns were inevitable while the issues were met with a response. As a result, supply was compromised.
Similar to a trick play being set up on a football field, the Democrats seemed unable to muster a unified response. While long lines overtook service stations across the eastern and southern quadrants of the country and fuel supply dwindled to nothing, Governor Whitmer of Michigan decided during that same week to put the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline’s head in the guillotine. No spill occurred. No explosion made the news. Thankfully, no one was injured or killed.
Instead, a 1953 easement violation served as the catalyst for the Line 5 death chant. Pipelines are not mobile. They do not shift. Suddenly an easement violation that has been in the known since 1953 became an issue of grave importance, so strongly feared that the Democratic Governor decided she would kick Americans when they were already down. When supply is down, and fear is up, the answer is not to increase the two with another self-imposed shut down.
Shoring up her own wall of protection around her theory, Governor Whitmer fortified her threats of closure with voiced concerns for the Great Lakes.
“Here in Michigan, the Great Lakes define our borders, but they also define who we are as people,” said Whitmer in a release. “Enbridge has repeatedly refused to take action to protect our Great Lakes and the millions of Americans who depend on them for clean drinking water and good jobs … Most importantly, Enbridge has imposed on the people of Michigan an unacceptable risk of a catastrophic oil spill in the Great Lakes that could devastate our economy and our way of life.”
The citizens of this country and the environment on which it was built must be protected. This is indisputable; however, it is not a stance to be taken only when convenient. Why did this come to fruition the same week as the Colonial Pipeline shutdown? Was Whitmer concerned during the weeks or years prior? Why was Line 5 catapulted into question during the same week as the Colonial attack?
Insert Foot into Mouth
Interestingly, Governor Whitmer referenced grave risk and harm to the Great Lakes. This seems to make sense since Democrats tout that pipelines are bad, built by irresponsible entities, and pollute the land. On the other hand, Former Secretary of State John Kerry admitted that pipelines were the most efficient means to transport fuel in a Wednesday interview.
Responding to a question delivered by Republican Representative Darrel Issa of California regarding pipeline transportation efficiency and safety, Kerry said, “Yeah, that is true. I think that is true, but it doesn’t mean you necessarily want to be adding another line when there are other alternatives. But is it better than train, and better than that? Yes, it is.”
Both Kerry’s argument and statement clash while bathed in hypocrisy. If the argument is made that pipelines are the most efficient means of fuel transportation, then why not add a line? Additional lines would increase supply. More confusion must be considered. If pipelines reign as the safest means of transport, why would you use an alternate? This makes no sense, and Kerry is simply seen as attempting to protect the President and his agenda.
Biden As the Hypocritical Entrée
If political hypocrisy was a dinner special, those staged to eat it better have a sharp knife to cut it and something cold to wash it down. The best example to date is Biden himself. Exercising executive order because how else could he accomplish anything in a presidency that is destined to be remembered in doubt, Biden doomed the Keystone XL. Less than six months later, he is addressing the American people with his version of reassurance in the wake of the Colonial Pipeline shutdown.
While Colonial was devising a strategy to bring operations online and revitalize fuel shortages, Biden capitalized on the movement.
“They should be reaching full operational capacity as we speak, as I speak to you right now. That is good news,” said Biden in an address. “But I want to be clear. You will not feel the effects at the pump immediately. This is not like flicking on a light switch.”
Biden additionally took unilateral action as a response mechanism with yet again another executive order that focused on intensifying the defenses of the federal government’s cybersecurity defenses. Further, a “Cybersecurity Safety Review Board” was requested to be developed and composed of both public and private sector personnel.
The course of action taken by Biden and his administration is hypocritical in comparison to his arguments and promises made while running for office. These greatly influence pipelines and the oil and gas industry as a whole.
If the fossil fuel industry is incredibly bad, then the question must be asked regarding Biden’s motive in even supporting Colonial in bringing the pipeline back online. Why not let green energy come in and save the day? If Kerry was right when he stated alternatives were available, then why has not an alternative been brought forward to replace the supply of the Colonial pipeline? The answer is simple. There is no alternative available yet. Green energy has huge potential, but it is unable to replace the fossil fuel industry at this moment in time. It is still young but has great promise.
Becoming cynical as I grow long in the tooth, I see another possibility. Could Biden, the biggest hypocrite of all, have an ulterior motive? Could it be that he is attempting to display unification with Colonial in order to draw support for his Infrastructure Bill? With a price tag of approximately $2 trillion, some experts have expressed disappointment finding limited funds earmarked for critical system defense mechanisms while the proposal makes suggestions such as $100 billion for improving the power grid.
Surviving Another Day
While the actors of political theater continue to lay out monumental performances, one indisputable fact remains. The pipelines will pay. They will continue to be victimized by a political party that talks out of both sides of its mouth, revealing nothing more than additional questions and confusion. The pipeline industry will have no choice but to succumb and push forward in hopes of a future repaired by clear and concise thought based on technological enhancement and the common good of the people and the land in which they live.
Nick Vaccaro is a freelance writer and photographer. Besides providing technical writing services, he is an HSE consultant in the oil and gas industry with eight years of experience. He also contributes to Louisiana Sportsman Magazine and follows and photographs American Kennel Club field and herding trials. Nick has a BA in Photojournalism from Loyola University and resides in the New Orleans area. 210-240-7188 [email protected]