Evolving Trends in Infrastructure Opposition

The new intersectional alliance of social causes has fused groups together to rally against infrastructure projects, making the development of critical infrastructure more challenging than ever.

No matter how desperately it may be needed, how much safer the newer system may be, or how environmentally advantageous and advanced it is, there are always people or parties who won’t see the value and will take exception with the project plan.

Projects that once seemed easy-to-approve and welcome in communities are now a challenge, like wind farms and pipeline safety projects. There’s infighting in rural communities between those who do want the income and clean energy that comes with wind farm developments and those who find them an eyesore. It’s virtually impossible to get newer, safer pipelines built so companies resort to increasing throughput on older, existing lines.

The old tactics are still there. Protestors still arrive at informational, townhall-style meetings chanting and making impassioned but disruptive pleas and chain themselves to equipment or lodge themselves within a pipeline. But they’ve added some new tactics to the playbook too.

Activists now not only direct their ire at the company developing the project but also the banks, subcontractors, government officials and others who provide funding, approvals and play any role in the project. Employees are subject to harassment out in public wearing company logo apparel or driving company trucks. Increasingly often, opposition groups conduct demonstrations and make demands on the front lawns of executives’ homes.

Opposition groups have become more aggressive, more in your face, and more successful at creating a scene to draw media attention to their message. Therefore, it’s more critical than ever to stay ahead of security threats and enlist experts to think through every eventuality. Security must be prioritized at project conception as it can make or break the effort.

At Summit, we appreciate the value and importance of delivering critical infrastructure projects. We exist to make sure that can be done safely, to the benefit of the community and nation.