Gaslight: The Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Fight for America's Energy Future (Hardcover)

Gaslight: The Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Fight for America's Energy Future By Jonathan Mingle Cover Image

Gaslight: The Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Fight for America's Energy Future (Hardcover)


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Imagine one day you receive a letter in the mail that informs you that a large energy company is planning to build a massive pipeline through your property. That surveyors will be coming out soon. That they have the legal right to do so, whether you like it or not, because this project is in the “public interest”—because the pipeline will be carrying natural gas, the so-called “bridge fuel” that politicians on both sides of the aisle have been peddling for decades as the path to a clean, green energy future.

This was the gist of the letter that Dominion Energy sent to thousands of residents living along the path of its proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline in 2014, setting off an epic, six-year battle that eventually led all the way to the Supreme Court. That struggle’s epicenter was in the mountains of Virginia, where communities stretching from the Blue Ridge foothills to the Shenandoah Valley and the Allegheny highlands became Dominion’s staunchest foes. On one side was an archetypal Goliath: a power company that commands billions of dollars, the votes of politicians, and the decisions of the federal government. On the other, an army of Davids: lawyers and farmers, conservationists and conservatives, scientists and nurses, innkeepers and lobbyists, families who farmed their land since before the Revolutionary War and those who were not allowed to until after the Civil War.

At stake was not only the future of the communities that lay in the pipeline’s path but the future of American energy. Would the public be swayed by the industry’s decades-long public relations campaign to frame natural gas – a fossil fuel and itself a potent greenhouse gas – as a “solution” to climate change? Or would we recognize it as a methane bomb, capable of not only imperiling local property and upending people’s lives, but of pushing the planet further down the road towards climate chaos?

Vivid and suspenseful, gut-wrenching and insightful, Gaslight is more than the chronicle of a turning point in American history. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the dark, overlooked story of America’s “favorite fossil fuel,” and the immense future stakes of the energy choices we face today.
Jonathan Mingle is an independent journalist. He has written about the science and politics of climate change, energy, technology, public health, and other subjects for The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, Undark Magazine, Yale Environment 360, Slate, The Boston Globe, and other outlets. He is a recipient of the Middlebury Fellowship in Environmental Journalism and the Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellowship. As a 2020 APF fellow, he reported on the political, legal, and grassroots battles over new natural gas (aka methane) infrastructure, and its local impacts and global climate consequences. His first book is Fire and Ice: Soot, Solidarity, and Survival on the Roof of the World.
Product Details ISBN: 9781642832488
ISBN-10: 1642832480
Publisher: Island Press
Publication Date: May 9th, 2024
Pages: 352
Language: English
"Like all great writers, Mingle tells a very big story by way of a small, precise one. Through granular and humane reporting, he recounts the valiant campaign waged by a diverse group of local Appalachian landowners against one of the nation’s most powerful energy companies. This taut narrative is then deftly woven into the wider social and historical fabric, until it encompasses the whole of American politics, and, indeed, the very survival of humanity. One comes away convinced that natural gas, long touted as a 'bridge' to a green future, is, in fact, a highway to hell."
— Robert Moor, author of 'On Trails: An Exploration'

"A stirring account of an epic battle—and a profound glimpse into this crucial moment, when the world is poised between two energy systems. This fine book makes the biggest questions on our planet very local, immediate, and understandable."
— Bill McKibben, author of 'The End of Nature'

"Gaslight tells the story of how a group of people took on the powerful fossil fuel industry — and won. It’s a hopeful story of how we can make progress on climate change. Gaslight is the perfect blend of narrative, history, and science – it’s a gripping read!"
— Leah Stokes, author of 'Short Circuiting Policy' and professor of environmental politics, University of California, Santa Barbara