Member News — New PennEast Public Awareness Campaign Highlights Massachusetts’ Reliance on Russia and Higher Emission Energy This Winter
March 16th, 2018
The PennEast Pipeline Company announced a new multi-media public awareness campaign alerting New Jersey families, businesses and elected leaders about what can happen when extreme voices dictate energy policy like blocking natural gas pipelines.
Showcasing the challenges Massachusetts experienced during the cold snap several weeks ago after years of blocking natural gas pipelines, the public awareness campaign highlights real-world risks: higher costs, reliance on coal and oil to keep the lights on, and even “unprecedented imports” of Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG).
“New Jersey has a question to ask itself: Should the state get its energy from Russia or from Pennsylvania?” asked Anthony Cox, chair of the Board of Managers of the PennEast Pipeline Company. “The anti-natural gas pipeline rhetoric from extreme voices in New Jersey is frequent. That’s why this public awareness campaign provides New Jerseyans a look into what happens when, as Massachusetts did, you turn that extreme rhetoric into public policy. You get higher carbon emissions, higher costs and even turn to Russia to keep lights and power going.”
The Boston Globe called Massachusetts’ anti-pipeline policies and reliance on Russian energy LNG “a severe indictment of the state’s inward-looking environmental and climate policies,” including a “trendy, but scientifically unfounded, national fixation…over stopping domestic pipelines.” The Globe concluded that the “environmental movement needs a reset,” because stopping pipelines also have steered “energy customers to dirtier fuels like coal and oil, increasing greenhouse gas emissions.”
According to Bloomberg News, the lack of natural gas pipelines, coupled with increasing demand when energy was needed most, drove natural gas prices in Massachusetts to the highest in the world. In turn, the higher costs and the inability to get natural gas forced power generators and industrial consumers to burn higher-emission energy like coal and oil. Massachusetts burned two million barrels of oil during the 15-day cold snap to keep the lights on – four times what was needed compared to last winter. The state’s Environmental Secretary called it “nothing but a disaster.”
Worse and in the midst of Massachusetts’ energy crisis, the independent New England power grid operator issued a shocking report January 17 that warned of rolling blackouts as soon as 2024, without new natural gas pipelines. The report found six states — from Connecticut to Maine — had an 80 percent chance of rolling blackouts based on 23 modeled scenarios, even with a planned tripling of renewable energy sources; Massachusetts’ renewable energy portfolio is more than double that of New Jersey.
“Natural gas pipelines like the PennEast Pipeline support American energy independence and American jobs, and they are the safest way to move energy,” added Cox. “Economists agree the PennEast Pipeline will lower costs for families and businesses, government regulators say it is needed and safe for the environment and our power grid operator says the PennEast Pipeline supports reliable electricity in our homes. The demand for the PennEast Pipeline is clear, and building it to the benefit of the region should be indisputable.”
After three years of regulatory review, PennEast received federal approval on January 19. The approximately 120-mile pipeline directly accesses for the first time one of the most abundant and affordable supplies of natural gas in the world, for the benefit of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Three government regulators determined the PennEast Pipeline is safe for the environment, and independent experts have found it would have saved electric and natural gas consumers nearly $1 billion in energy costs in one recent winter alone.
The radio and digital campaign begins March 13, and includes statewide New Jersey cable and New Jersey 101.5FM radio, along with a strong online presence statewide. A copy of the television and radio spot may be found here: https://youtu.be/8aFU2Tybuf0.