A pipeline of your own

To the Editor:

You may think that only multi-national corporations can own a pipeline. Regular people can own a pipeline without laying out a dime of their own money.

There’s a federal agency called “Federal Energy Regulatory Commission” that makes it easy to own a pipeline. Just draw some lines on a map, fill out enough forms to justify a lot of bureaucrats’ salaries, and YOU can be part of the energy/regulatory complex. The lines can be through your neighbor’s septic system, a graveyard, or the local wildlife preserve. All those silly rules are out the window when YOU team up with FERC.

A pipeline is surprisingly affordable. You can get low interest rate loans (courtesy of the Federal Reserve). Unlike student loans, you don’t have to pay off the loans with your own money. The feds and the state will help YOU with “tariffs”. That means they’ll include the cost of YOUR pipeline on the electric bills of the people whose property you trash. If people whine, you just tell them electricity would have been even more expensive without YOUR pipeline; they can’t prove otherwise.

The whole secret of the pipeline business is it’s all on someone else’s nickel and someone else’s property. YOU get to run your pipeline wherever you like. The people whose property YOUR pipeline runs across still have to pay taxes on it. YOU can even keep them from using their own property. You may have to make a token payment to the “little people”, but that payment is up to YOU, and FERC will give you eminent domain power to take what YOU “need”.

There are a few costs that come off your bottom line, but they’re worth it. You have to make a few campaign contributions to politicians. What’s a few bucks when you can get a politician to parrot your industry/corporate line? (“Maggie want a cracker”) You may also want to hire a few bureaucrats who have retired from FERC to help you with your business. They went the extra mile (across someone else’s property) for you, they deserve a lucrative second career.

There’s no need to worry about the people whose property has been trashed and who pay the “tariffs”. They’re just “little people”. They aren’t important people like corporate officers, bureaucrats or politicians. They’ll always squeal a bit, but they know you can’t fight the feds.

What about actually shipping gas? Not a problem. FERC already has five pipelines on their “docket” to ship gas to or through New England (even though there’s not enough demand for even one). One more isn’t going to make a difference. The money’s not in moving gas, it’s in building pipelines and getting other people to pay for them. If YOUR pipeline ever moves one cubic foot of gas, that’s pure gravy. The “little people” will already have made YOU YOUR money. YOUR friends at FERC may have to work a little harder to process one more pipeline request, but for the extra work, they’ll get bonuses and raises (paid for by the “little people’s” taxes.)

John Lewicke