About The Issue
Reversing the Laurel Pipeline is:
Bad for Consumers
Bad for Workers
Bad for Pennsylvania
Good for Buckeye Partners
Good for Out-Of-State Refiners
The Laurel pipeline has been transporting finished fuel products made by Southeastern Pennsylvania refineries to the greater Pittsburgh region for 60 years. Consumers benefit from the current market structure in which fuel marketers have the choice of purchasing the most competitively priced products – is it from Pennsylvania refineries to the east, or out-of-state refineries in the mid-west? Market data shows that for the majority of the year, finished products made right here in Pennsylvania are less expensive than finished products from out-of-state refineries.
Since its installation in 1957, Laurel has always flowed in a westerly direction, and it’s the only remaining pipeline carrying finished product into Western PA from Philadelphia area refineries. But now, after 60 years, the Texas-based owner of the Laurel pipeline wants to reverse the line’s directional flow, allowing instead for Mid-west refineries to use it to supply points beyond Pittsburgh, and if they get their way, eventually the entire state. This would effectively cut off the ability for Philadelphia-area refineries to supply Western PA with low-cost fuels.
So why do this? Because Buckeye stands to make substantially more money if the pipeline is reversed, all at the expense of Pennsylvania consumers and workers. Buckeye’s Vice President, Bill Hollis has even said “Pipeline tariffs for the planned reversal from Pittsburgh to Altoona will be higher than the tariffs for shipping products from Philly.”
Buckeye claims it’s about providing consumers with lower gas prices. But reversing the line forces fuel marketers in the greater Pittsburgh area to become solely dependent on fuel from a single market source – out-of-state refineries to the west. Energy experts have said that access to two markets has insulated the greater Pittsburgh region from price spikes and supply disruptions, a benefit that will disappear with a Laurel reversal.
Pennsylvanians already struggle with some of the highest gas prices in the nation and a reversal will only make matters worse. Southeastern refineries will suffer too, along with 1,500 direct and tens-of-thousands of indirect jobs they support, as an important market is eliminated.
The matter is currently before the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), which must determine whether a reversal is in the best interest of Pennsylvania. It’s clear that a reversal of the Laurel Pipeline is bad for consumers, bad for workers, and just plain bad for Pennsylvania.
We urge you to contact the PUC and tell them to reject Laurel’s request to upend 60 years of competitive, market-driven fuel pricing.