Recently, there has been an article in the New York Times that has brought about a new debate about the need for increased Pipeline Security. Many people believe that there should be some form of regulation because there have been multiple incidents of oil spills in the United States. Indeed, the Obama administration discussed this issue at one of their first press conferences after taking office. However, when the government decides that pipeline security should be regulated, they seem to have little real idea of what the proper methods are. Indeed, it appears to be more of a political issue than an issue of ensuring safety for the American people.
The first question that most people have is whether or not the government should regulate pipeline companies. After all, the United States passed a law back in 2021 that placed limits on the amount of crude oil that can be transferred across state lines. However, there is little that the federal government can do if Trans Canada or Mexican pipeline companies decide to cross into the United States without following the required regulations. The question becomes whether or not the government should simply rely upon the expertise of the oil companies and allow them to continue to operate how they currently do.
When the government decides that Pipeline Terrorism ought to be regulated, they also decide that those who wish to observe and record this activity should get a permit from the government. Many people wonder why anyone needs a permit to watch over the activities of private companies. Those wondering this question would be best served by examining exactly what the government has decided can be considered pipeline-related. Some individuals may see this as an overreaching of government power, but those concerned with privacy have little alternative but to comply with any law that is passed by our government.
In addition to watching over the companies themselves, there is also the need for the government to watch over the pipeline companies themselves. This is perhaps even more important than the companies themselves. After all, a major portion of the oil that flows through our nation’s pipelines is carried by private companies. A major portion of that oil, according to some estimates, is US-produced. As such, any regulation which attempts to limit or restrict the amount of oil that can be transported through our pipelines would effectively be an attempt to control and regulate our country’s natural resources.
Some people might argue that it is already a problem if there are reports that the government is monitoring people’s phone calls. This is a valid concern, however, it would also be just as reasonable to suggest that it would be a problem if there was no monitoring at all. The fact that the government decides that people need to consider the possible abuse of their rights does not make surveillance any more or less necessary.
Some people are worried about the increasing number of oil tankers in the Gulf of Mexico due to oil spills. Those opposed to increased numbers of tankers may well be right, but those in favor of increased efficiency and better safety should consider that there are far more important things in life than having your oil tankers constantly getting caught in these tiny places in the middle of the ocean. To some, it may seem like a small thing, but when oil is spilled the consequences can be devastating and even life-threatening. If this is the case, why should anyone care that the government decides that pipeline security ought to be regulated? And if businesses should be concerned about government oversight, then why shouldn’t homeowners and business owners be concerned about it as well?
There are many arguments against regulating security in this way. The argument that most people fall back on is one that says that the government is overstepping its bounds. That is, the government has an interest in ensuring that it keeps the people safe from harm, but business owners have a legitimate reason for wanting to protect their companies as well. It would seem, then, that the government has little interest in keeping its citizens safe from themselves. This flies in the face of free-market capitalism and is basically a rejection of the basic premises of the system. The fact that the government does not want to take on this heavy-handed responsibility is one of the major reasons that people don’t trust big business.
The irony here is that those who are most worried about the integrity of the country’s oil supplies and pipelines are the very corporations that are causing the problem in the first place. In other words, those who are publicly opposing the idea of increased regulation are often those same corporations themselves that are doing the most damage to the environment by their emissions and their dependence on dirty fossil fuels. Those who support increased regulation of these same businesses are often those same businesses that are causing the problem in the first place.