Letter to the editor: Pipeline reversal bad for consumers
As leaders of companies that serve countless Pennsylvanians each day, we couldn't disagree more with the column “Going with the flow: Energy policies that benefit consumers.”
If the Laurel Pipeline is reversed, the exact opposite will occur: Consumers will lose because of higher prices and fewer choices. The only winners will be Buckeye Partners and the Midwestern refiners that would gain a captive market in Western Pennsylvania — not Pennsylvania families, businesses and workers.
There is little upside but plenty of downside to the proposed reversal. Midwest refiners already have access to Pennsylvania markets and currently compete with supply from the East Coast. For eight months per year, East Coast supply is actually cheaper.
The reversal would eliminate competition from the East Coast — which, in turn, would leave Western Pennsylvania solely dependent on Midwest refiners. Less competition means higher at-the-pump prices for consumers.
The reversal also threatens the jobs of thousands of employees at the Philadelphia-area refineries that have served Pennsylvania for over a half-century.
Eliminating East Coast supply would leave Western Pennsylvania vulnerable to supply shortages and price spikes if and when there are disruptions at Midwest refineries or on Midwest pipelines. In fact, Midwest refiners already struggle to meet Midwestern demand today.
There is no rational argument supporting Buckeye's claim of lower prices for consumers. If the reversal were truly a win for consumers, we would be the first to support it.
Lorenz is executive vice president of Sheetz Inc.; Flinn is senior vice president and general manager of Giant Eagle-GetGo.