US Energy Growth Requires Infrastructure Investment

Real Clear Energy recently published an opinion editorial by Mead Treadwell, former lieutenant governor of Alaska and CEO and Chairman of Qilak LNG, which focuses on the development of North American Arctic LNG exports. Treadwell highlights the importance of America’s economic growth in oil and natural gas production and how further investment in pipeline expansion may support this continued growth.

But Treadwell points to statistical information from the U.S. Energy Information Administration to underscore how some officials and opponents have seemingly hindered growth of American energy. Treadwell writes:

“Despite a 200% increase in US oil production and a 40% jump in natural gas output since 2010, construction of the pipelines needed to move products to consumers has lagged. While new projects are coming online at a record rate, opposition to key pipelines threatens to leave the U.S. energy market fragmented.”

Treadwell refers to some other examples of the US missing out on economically rewarding energy benefits. Treadwell points out:

“Earlier this year, the Empire State used the Clean Water Act to shut down a nearly $1 billion natural gas pipeline that would have connected the state’s power plants with gas-rich fields in Pennsylvania and Ohio, and reduced the average price of electricity in New York City which currently stands at 21.0 cents per kWh, 54 percent higher than the national average (13.6 cents per kWh).”

Continuing through the article, Treadwell notes how pipelines support US energy exports by lowering the trade deficit, therefore supporting the economy. Treadwell also points out, “Investing in modern energy infrastructure enables the US to provide long-term, low cost, reliable energy to consumers, which in turn makes domestic industries like manufacturing and agriculture more cost-competitive relative to foreign rivals.” Self-reliance not only benefits the US, but our allies as well. By turning away from foreign energy imports sourced from unstable regions, we can bolster our national security while promoting American energy independence.

The United States has a promising future regarding its energy potential. But as Treadwell emphasizes, if we want to reap these benefits for our nation, we must properly invest in our pipeline networks today.

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