Energy infrastructure investment can unlock jobs, energy security

May 18, 2018

Spring weather is finally here, but some New Yorkers haven’t forgotten being left in the cold when their homes lost heat over the winter. In the cold, but not in the dark when it comes to the solution: build more pipelines. That’s the plea from tenants at seven New York City Housing Authority developments, who recently wrote a public letter urging construction of a proposed natural gas pipeline, stating: “As we learned with [Superstorm] Sandy, without reliable energy infrastructure, our residents can easily lose power and heat.”

Northeastern state officials don’t seem interested – obstructing one pipeline project after another, even pipelines approved by federal regulators after exhaustive reviews. Failure to invest in energy infrastructure is a big reason New York’s electricity costs have been running as much as 50 percent above the national average. Same for Boston, which actually welcomed a tanker containing Russian natural gas earlier this year. All the while, plenty of U.S. natural gas is available in nearby Pennsylvania – one of the leading natural gas-producing states in the world’s leading natural gas-producing nation.

New England is a case study in the costs of self-imposed infrastructure constraints, but the region’s troubles also illustrate the flipside: the benefits of infrastructure opportunity. Communities across the nation who embrace those opportunities can enjoy not just affordable, reliable energy but jobs – including well-paying, middle-class sustaining construction jobs. Besides the roads, bridges and buildings usually in the spotlight when policymakers talk about investing in U.S. infrastructure, 32 percent of today’s construction industry workforce is employed on energy projects, amounting to over 2 million workers. Pipeline construction alone supports more than 41,700 jobs for union workers each year, generating over $2.3 billion in wages.

And those numbers could grow. Our road to the top in world natural gas and oil production has led to growing production in some new areas – areas not always well-connected to the existing energy transportation network. Even established production regions like the Permian Basin in Texas are straining pipeline capacity because production has grown so much...

Read entire article ata The Hill. 

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