End of the road for America’s oil and gas pipelines? | FT Energy Source

[Music] a great change is sweeping over america's energy landscape once easy built pipelines vital to the delivery of oil and gas from wells to refineries across the country are being blocked fear is over safety and pollution and an increased awareness of the risks of climate change have led to a surge of protests and legal objections by environmental campaigners native american tribes and community groups extending to the heart of the nation's capital brandon how are you doing likewise it's also where litigation specialist brandon barnes has followed the plummeting fortunes of pipeline projects across the us since 2016. it's a combination of public interest and pressure politics regulatory delays and litigation but they've added up to massive delays and cost overruns many campaigns have proved effective in scuppering projects altogether the largest venture to fall yet was the totemic 9 billion dollar 1900 kilometer keystone xl pipeline supposed to carry heavy canadian oil from alberta to nebraska from where it could be piped onwards to refineries on the gulf coast after 12 years of delays the owners finally canceled the project in june after president biden revoked a key us access permit last year the 8 billion atlantic coast pipeline project which would have pumped natural gas from west virginia to utilities in north carolina was also abandoned after protracted litigation and delays sent costs soaring even operational conduits are under threat the future of the dakota access pipeline which has carried oil south from north dakota's prolific back and shale since 2017 hangs on an environmental review after it narrowly avoided a court-ordered shutdown last year the prospects for a greenfield pipeline in particular in most any area in the united states right now are very dim they're just not going to be built they're getting attacked from all sorts of different directions and there are courts putting them on hold but the oil and gas industry needs pipelines huge deposits of shale oil and gas from north dakota to texas are waiting to be tapped and pumped across the us but not here in dc and well beyond the range of my friendly city taxi cab where are you going few hours west of richmond that's far [Music] five hours later around 430 kilometers southwest of washington dc i'm rolling along the verdant foothills of the majestic appalachian mountains in virginia a once quiet backwater of country roads has become another front line for the anti-pipeline movement [Music] jamie how are you doing how are you sir not too bad not too bad at all good to meet you thanks very much small farmholder jamie hale is one of many residents battling the mountain valley pipeline one section of the 485 kilometer pipeline that's due to funnel natural gas across virginia and west virginia cuts through the local area and has prompted fierce resistance from many locals the local communities really got involved in this this resistance against the mountain valley pipeline by showing up getting involved going to waterboard hearings jamie and his neighbors opposing the pipeline claim the risks of an explosion or groundwater contaminating leak are simply too high so the pipeline comes through your land yes yes it does georgia haverty runs several businesses from her farm and apple orchard including a restaurant and wedding venue this is tearing up our land and our property and our businesses in our environment and our water wedding parties that come up here to want a tour they look at this yeah and they just say no thank you i'm sorry we you know we don't know what's going to happen we don't know if it's going to be done it looks really ugly not everyone in the community is against the pipeline and mountain valley is now more than 90 complete but long over budget and over schedule supposed to open back in 2018 delays caused by opposition in the courts and by direct protest action have almost doubled the projected cost from 3.5 to more than 6 billion and the hit to investors and the reverberations through the industry at large mean that this epic pipeline project could well be the last of its kind the company behind the pipeline insists that safety in construction and operation is a priority meeting or exceeding regulations [Music] with pipelines apparently under siege i'm back in washington dc to see how the wider industry sees the viability of piping oil and gas across a country trying to shift away from fossil fuels and clean up co2 emissions frank how are you doing good to see you good to see you according to the american petroleum institute pipelines are vital to sustain the kind of supply that has slashed the cost of energy for u.s consumers and helped wean the country off foreign imports in the last decade as we continue to find solutions that are low and zero carbon emission solutions we also need that oil and gas today to be able to deliver affordable and reliable energy for folks in the short term at least the industry sees no effective alternative supporters say that ferrying oil and gas by road or rail is far riskier and will create more emissions and the pipelines are still efficient and reliable sure we're concerned about it but we know it's necessary to continue our standard of living the opposition to pipelines is not universal analysts say the expansion of existing pipelines could sustain the industry burst says activists redouble their anti-pipeline campaigns and climate change plays an increasing role in political discourse new mega pipeline projects like mountain valley might well be a thing of the past [Music] you

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