Yesterday MDN ran a story from NGI’s Daily Gas Price Index that delves into the motivation behind the intense opposition to pipeline projects in the northeast (see Why Such Intense Opposition to Pipelines in the Northeast?). Rick Groll, a geologist and industrial seismologist living and working in the Boston area, has some of his own observations on the motives of his fellow New Englanders. What makes these anti-pipeliners tick? Rick offers us some insight in this guest post…
By Richard J. Groll, Geologist & Industrial Seismologist
The people of New England are under the delusion that energy production and delivery is a spontaneous, natural phenomenon which magically gives them what they want, when they want it. I call this the McDonalds drive-thru effect. They reason, amongst themselves, that because some gas pipelines are already in place and that energy is already produced in sufficient quantities to supply the existing population and demand, that this condition will spontaneously adjust itself to suit their purposes in perpetuity.
The problem that you will encounter with New Englanders with respect to approving new pipelines is a combination of a sense of entitlement and a lack of a frame of reference by which to understand the labor-intensive nature of energy production. Precious few of these people have ever been involved in the production of oil or natural gas or the mining of coal. They are a hoard of technology-driven yuppies which have never had anything more to do with the production of energy than turn on a switch or pay a bill.
In short, the whole concept of energy production and delivery is beyond their scope of comprehension because they have never personally seen any part of it. It just shows up and they use it.
These same people would be aghast if they were to see exactly how the energy they have consumed every day of their lives has been produced: the number of acres cleared, the infrastructure that permanently populates the landscape, not to mention the incidents of environmental damage like spills and accidents, personal injury and deaths. All of this is as far from their minds as another dimension or universe.
What makes the situation even more sad is, that in my line of work, I have seen these same people ferociously oppose the construction of wind and solar farms, as if the energy they consume is a magical phenomenon that simply happens because they are “good people” who are entitled to good things. Delusional.