The NIMBY factor, the protests of one group — often influential and/or privileged — pushes for the removal or cancellation of something that could otherwise benefit an entire community. Protests may be based on seemingly legitimate concerns or on inaccurate perceptions and lack of consideration of the good a project would do for others.
The “Not In My Back Yard” syndrome has long been at play in neighborhood issues across the country. It results in divided communities and often leads to the loss of millions — often billions — of dollars in growth and development because of misperceptions, misinformation or a sense of entitlement.
It is this kind of controversy now raging in Southeast Pennsylvania where a group of NIMBY suburbanites is opposing the building of a pipeline — not only near their neighborhood, but anywhere in Pennsylvania.
The backstory is that Pennsylvania’s investment in natural gas resources and the necessary energy infrastructure components — namely pipelines — has enabled the state to blossom into the second total energy producer in the United States. The primary benefit of the current project — known as Mariner East 2 — aside from the safe delivery of natural gas — is the creation of well-paying and sustainable jobs and an astronomical economic impact, resulting in a better quality of life for thousands of people, including those in poorer communities.
Studies, including one by the Fraser Institute “using data from government sources,” have concluded that “pipelines are without a doubt the safest way to transport oil and gas.” These studies are based on the examination of the “number of occurrences or accidents per million barrels of oil and gas transported.”
Yet suburban communities in Southeast Pennsylvania have howled in protest despite enjoying the many modern conveniences and low energy costs afforded by the state’s resources and the infrastructure needed to bring the product to market. Communities in Pennsylvania’s Chester and Delaware counties have called for the halt of such projects as Mariner East 2 or even a complete moratorium on pipelines in the state.
If successful, the consequence could be the potential loss of economic benefit for the entire commonwealth. Stopping the pipeline project would lead to the loss of thousands of prospective jobs and lucrative incomes and an economic impact that would be felt for years — especially by the poor.