Energy infrastructure investments vital to economic growth

June 2, 2016

The Hill

Roads, bridges, high speed rail, airport modernization – when politicians promise to fix the nation’s “crumbling infrastructure” and put Americans to work building shovel-ready projects, transportation is usually at the top of the list. We all notice infrastructure needs when we drive over a pothole or get stuck in traffic back-ups caused by the latest bridge repair. But flipping a light switch, turning up the thermostat, gassing up the car – and, crucially, what we pay for these essentials – also rely on infrastructure. The difference is, updating energy transportation infrastructure promises major economic gains without costing a dime of consumers’ tax dollars.

More than 199,000 miles of liquid petroleum pipelines and 305,000 miles of gas transmission pipelines crisscross the United States. That may seem like a lot of pipeline capacity, but we actually need more. A lot more – and not just pipelines, but energy infrastructure investment across the board, including storage, processing, rail and maritime development.

Updating energy infrastructure will keep energy moving efficiently, ensuring reliable access for homes and for businesses. Access to affordable energy gives U.S. manufacturers a competitive edge, reducing power and materials costs for producers of steel, chemicals, refined fuels, plastics, fertilizers and numerous other products. According to a recent study from the Boston Consulting Group, U.S. industrial electricity costs are 30-50 percent lower than those of our foreign competitors. American manufacturing costs are now 10 to 20 percent lower than those in Europe and could be 2 to 3 percent lower than China’s by 2018, bringing even more jobs back to American shores on top of the estimated 400,000 manufacturing jobs already supported by shale energy.

Greenhouse gas emissions are also dropping. Greater use of clean-burning natural gas for power generation has driven carbon emissions to the nation’s lowest levels in more than 20 years, making the United States the world leader in both reduction of emissions and production of oil and natural gas.

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