Please Don’t Feed the Pipelines

Aliza Weidenbaum, Oberlin resident

To the Editors:

As someone fully opposed to fossil fuel pipelines, I am thrilled that the city of Oberlin is able to engage the help of such an experienced attorney as Carolyn Elefant in litigating to prevent pipelines (not merely rerouting them). We need all the help that we can get.

What still needs editorial focus is that Oberlin College built a new gas plant — yes, a new fossil gas-burning — when it can be expected to know better.

It is precisely new gas plants — like Oberlin College’s — that “demand” gas from pipelines. Please don’t feed the pipelines.

Consider Ball State University in Indiana — much less famous than Oberlin and much bigger, with around 21,000 students — which faces similarly fierce winters. By 2014, it had finished installing a geothermal system on its main campus of 47 buildings and shut down its coal-fired burners.

In 2011, Oberlin College installed a full geothermal heating and cooling system for the Allen Memorial Art Museum. Yet in 2014, Oberlin College built a new gas-burning plant. Oberlin College should not make excuses ( financial, well-intentioned, pseudo-green “transition-fuel short-term” or otherwise) for not outfitting the rest of the campus with renewable, geothermal energy.

Aliza Weidenbaum
Oberlin resident