A diverse coalition representing energy, manufacturing, construction, and environmental workers is calling on Congressional leaders to streamline the expansion of U.S. electrical infrastructure and make transmission projects a component of any new infrastructure legislation.
In a March 14 letter, the 46-member coalition called the nation’s electrical grid “one of the most critical national infrastructure priorities” and underscored the importance of both expanding and modernizing these critical systems. Specifically, the letter noted that further investments are needed to lessen the impact of power outages and ensure the nation’s high-voltage transmission systems are both productive and secure.
“Just like highways and bridges, transmission is infrastructure that keeps the U.S. economy moving – and growing,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association. “Recognizing transmission as essential infrastructure is another way Congress and the administration can keep promises of advancing all forms of energy while growing U.S. energy independence.”
Kevin Cosgriff, President and CEO of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, added that the primary hurdle facing electrical infrastructure isn’t a lack of funding, but rather myriad of regulatory hurdles that often prevent important projects from moving forward. This isn’t the first time Washington bureaucracy has been blamed for hindering infrastructure investments and, while it likely won’t be the last, there is an opportunity for significant reform under the Trump administration.
During his campaign, President Trump made clear his intentions to promote polices and legislation that reduce these regulatory burdens and within his first week in office signed two executive orders expediting the environmental review process and streamlining federal permitting. Furthermore, President Trump cut through the political red tape and allowed for the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipeline projects to move forward.
The concerns outlined by this letter are echoed by industries across the country that seek a government that will work with and support their desire to grow America’s infrastructure.