Austin City Council is planning to spend taxpayer money to oppose an infrastructure project outside of its city limits. Late last week, Austin City Council voted to spend $100,000 on legal fees to join a lawsuit against the proposed Permian Highway Pipeline, which is planned to be constructed between Austin and San Antonio, never crossing into the city of Austin.
Unlike many recent pipeline protests, opposition groups to the Permian Highway Pipeline are not demanding the project be cancelled, instead they are suing to have the route relocated north of Georgetown or south of San Antonio. Forbes’ David Blackmon recently called out this not-in-my-backyard attitude and criticized opposition groups and their funders, including Austin City Council, for wanting their money rather than science determine a pipeline’s route:
“Historically, pipeline routes in Texas have been determined based on science, economics, geography, laws and regulations. If the state starts making these determinations based on whether or not a given area has the money to fund a massive opposition effort, then Texas will soon look a lot like California or Colorado where mineral production is concerned. That’s a poor path to tread, in every sense of that word.”
Blackmon also highlighted the environmental benefits of the proposed pipeline:
“This lack of conviction in trying to kill the project outright is not surprising given the fact that the completion of the Permian Highway will help to reduce the ongoing problem of natural gas being flared in West Texas and Southeast New Mexico. Then there’s the stark, undeniable reality that Texas needs more pipelines, and plenty of them. A study issued by IHS Markit last year found that the state will need to build out about 10,000 miles of new oil and natural gas pipelines between now and 2050 in order to fully accommodate its rising production. For those keeping score at home, that number of miles equates to roughly 232 Permian Highways in 30 years.”