Green Party Opposes Fossil Fuel Pipelines in Pennsylvania
PHILADELPHIA – Since 1971, the following passage has been in the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania: "The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic, and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania's public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people."
Jocolyn Bowser-Bostick (Delaware County), a former member of the Green Party of Pennsylvania (GPPA) steering committee, pointed out, "These sane and wise words, however, might as well not exist because too many of our elected and appointed government officials refuse to enforce them. As I like to point out, there are numerous examples of how pipeline companies have been allowed to grossly pollute the environment without meaningful consequences, which therefore betray the above passages promise to current and future generations. There are many patterns of behavior we need to stop and many actions we need to take to make sure we will have a healthy, safe and beautiful environment in which we, our future children, and our precious wildlife can thrive, and the Green Party with its 10 Key Values makes sure these goals remain central to our purpose."
The Governors Pipeline Infrastructure Taskforce Report says, "Pennsylvania already has more than 12,000 miles of large-diameter oil and gas pipelines in the ground, but now, according to . . . a presentation made . . . by The Nature Conservancy, the miles of natural gas gathering lines alone will at least quadruple by 2030. The footprint of just that [new] expansion is larger than the cumulative area impacted by all other Marcellus gas infrastructure combined, and could exceed 300,000 acres, or 1 percent of the states land area. The movement of natural gas will also require compressor stations, estimated to number in the hundreds, to be built along the anticipated pipeline miles. All told, this pipeline infrastructure build-out will impact communities and the environment in every county in Pennsylvania."
All of these buried pipelines are more dangerous than landmines when you consider their incendiary/explosive power and the fact that leaks in them may make it hard or impossible to breathe as well as cause other physical problems. Bowser-Bostick warned, "There is so much evidence on how dangerous these pipelines can be. In 2019, according to the U.S. Dept of Transportations Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration for all types of pipelines combined, there were 614 reported accidents which resulted in 10 people dying; 35 injuries; 2,113 evacuees; 86 fires; 28 explosions and $259 million in damages. The grim statistics of 2019 are actually slightly better than what was typical in each of the 9 preceding years. From 1/1/2010 through 12/31/2019 there were a combined 6,298 pipeline accidents which caused 140 fatalities; 656 injuries; 35,992 people to be evacuated from dangerous conditions caused by pipelines; 922 fires; 329 explosions; and $5,356,744,191 in damages."
There are many actions we can take to mitigate the dangers of these fossil fuel pipelines and put us on a faster path to a healthier and safer future that is free of fossil fuels. For example, all pipelines should have regular and comprehensive inspections by experts that are unaffiliated with the company that built the pipeline..
Bowser-Bostick explained, "Many people who have worked or lived near the gas drilling and fracking operations in the Marcellus Shale region and other U.S. areas have experienced noise pollution, smog, poisoned drinking water wells, skin rashes, constant headaches and body aches, respiratory problems, cancers, other health problems, physical injuries and deaths. Wildlife, livestock, and domesticated animals have also been seriously sickened or killed by these fracking and drilling operations. Profits and wages for a few do not justify this torment, and it seems more ridiculous to continue powering our societies with these dirty and dangerous forms of energy when we can satisfy all our energy needs through the combined use of improved energy efficiency, wind power, solar power, small scale hydropower and geothermal power that impose no health hazards on anyone."
"My point of view," she continued, "and that of the Green Party of PA is that there is no sane reason to be maintaining or adding to the pipeline infrastructure that we have in PA. In fact, on November 14, 2021, the assembled delegates of the Green Party of Pennsylvania voted unanimously to oppose any proposed or under construction fossil fuel pipelines in PA and to favor the dismantling of in-use fossil fuel pipelines as soon as possible, which will be able to happen as we adopt more clean energy infrastructure."
"For the benefits of stopping the deterioration and improving the health of the public, animal species, and the environment and mitigating climate change," Bowser-Bostick concluded, "we must stop extracting oil and natural gas, not build any new fossil fuel pipelines, discontinue the building of unfinished pipelines, and stop our reliance on fossil fuel pipelines currently in use as soon as possible."
The Green Party of Pennsylvania (GPPA) is an independent political party that stands in opposition to the two corporate parties. GPPA candidates promote public policy based on the Green Party’s Four Pillars: grassroots democracy, nonviolence, ecological wisdom, and social justice/equal opportunity. For further information about GPPA, please visit www.gpofpa.org. Please follow GPPA on social media: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
For more information please see:
Our Ten Key Values, Green Party of the U.S.,
Constitution of the Commonwealth of PA, 27. Natural resources and the public estate,
Governors Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force (PITF) Report, February 2016,
7 major pipeline projects in Pennsylvania by Candy Woodall, updated May 22, 2019, Penn Live, https://www.pennlive.com/midstate/2015/10/7_major_pipeline_projects_in_p.html