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After Keystone, ‘NIMBY is the New Normal’ for Oil and Gas

Whether or not the Keystone XL pipeline is ever approved, Politico energy reporter Elana Schor is out with an analysis that asks whether the grassroots pushback to Keystone will spill over into every future pipeline proposal.

“As Keystone’s problems imprint themselves on the nation’s political DNA, environmentalists and local advocacy groups are using the same template that has stalled it for six years to stoke resistance to fossil-fuel projects from coast to coast,” Schor writes.

“Word is out in the oil and gas industry that NIMBY is the new normal. From fuel-starved New England to the refinery country of California, the legacy of the pipeline fight has become an organized and galvanized local resistance to new energy infrastructure.”

Fossil fuel representatives “belittle the opposition and wax confident,” she reports. “But privately both the energy industry and its allies in government on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border are clearly worried.” One unnamed source told Schor that regulators “are not set up for this kind of militancy and challenge on political questions such as how fast we change the energy economy.”

Which means “the problem is even greater than they perceive,” the source said. “They’ve got their hands full, but the problem is even worse than they imagine.”