GAIN Spokesman Craig Stevens recently wrote a piece published in the Flathead Beacon focusing on the importance of reliable American energy and the challenges imposed on the industry by anti-fossil fuel activists. Stevens argues that these activists will stop at nothing to stand in the way of the country’s energy security. In one of the latest legal challenges to critical energy infrastructure, opponents raised concern over the environmental impact statement of the Keystone XL pipeline, which was completed four years ago. Stevens writes:
Policymakers would be foolish to let dogmatic opposition stand in the way of the Keystone XL in the same way. The pipeline will add $80 million in annual tax revenue for Montana and create thousands of good-paying jobs for skilled workers. The line will foster production on the Bakken shale formation by offering an on-ramp that will move as much as 100,000 barrels a day from the region.
Energy infrastructure all over the country promises similar benefits of tax revenue, job creation, and safe, efficient transport of product. It is predicted that the oil and gas industry will add nearly 1.9 million jobs by 2035, many of which will be filled by minorities and women. Additionally, building new energy infrastructure allows for more affordable fuels, stable markets, and notable economic growth. Yet with regard to these remarkable benefits, Stevens contends that these activists will not settle for anything less than a complete ban on new pipelines. He states:
Regrettably, the small but vocal fringes of the environmental movement seem to disregard the pivotal role of traditional energy production. These bad actors have demonstrated that no tactic is too low, and with deep-pockets and national organization they have begun to apply their playbook to development across the country. Wherever new infrastructure is needed, these groups seem to appear to stand in the way—and they have been successful in disrupting critical infrastructure plans.
The energy industry remains focused on utilizing best practices, proper permitting, and rigorous environmental precautions. Developments in advanced technology, thorough regulation, and growing public-private partnerships continue to bolster pipeline safety and lower the chances of failure to near zero. Policymakers must trust in the regulatory process, strive to promote legal energy infrastructure projects, and recognize the benefits they bring to our communities.
To read the full op-ed, click here