The U.S. has seen an unprecedented economic downturn this year amid the onset of COVID-19. Government-imposed lockdowns have caused businesses to take a hit and unemployment rates to skyrocket.
In the midst of these economic hardships, a recent study from the Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) reveals how pipelines can play a crucial role in helping to jumpstart a post-COVID economy. Recent regulatory hurdles for projects like Dakota Access and Keystone XL, among others, have created significant hurdles for the oil and gas industry; but the report highlights why these roadblocks have a wide-reaching impact beyond just those in the industry. As CEA explains, nearly $14 billion in ready investment from pipeline infrastructure projects can play a key role in supporting the American economy – that is – if regulators and environmental groups stop delaying, challenging, and protesting critical infrastructure projects from moving forward.
Pipeline delays and cancellations are putting more than 66,000 jobs at risk while jeopardizing over $280 million in annual state and local tax revenue. Opposition in Northeastern states are costing local residents extra cash and creating excessive emissions:
“Opposition in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania against infrastructure risks more than $3.5B in economic activity and more than 17,000 mostly union jobs and nearly $52M/Yr in tax revenues. The Northeast Supply Enhancement project alone would have saved residential customers 65% on their utility bills and prevented the annual carbon emissions equivalent of 500,000 cars from going into the atmosphere.”
Regulators and environmental groups must consider the implications of energy demand when delaying and blocking progress on key infrastructure projects. The report also highlights the ramifications of delays and pushback on specific pipeline projects:
“Opposition to Line 3 Replacement Project in Minnesota threatens $35M/Yr in new tax revenue, $2 billion in economic activity, $162M in local construction spending and 8,600 jobs. Shutdown of the Dakota Access Pipeline may add $1 billion/Yr to farmers’ costs as oil demand drives rail car prices up, risk higher gasoline, diesel and jet fuel prices for the upper Midwest. Failure to move ahead with the Keystone XL expansion will destroy $3.4 billion in investment, 10,400 jobs and $55 million in local tax revenue/Yr across Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska.”
Americans cannot afford to miss out on these family-sustaining job opportunities, affordable energy prices, and economic growth in their states. In the case of Dakota Access, eleven states would take hits to their food supply if the pipeline were to be shutdown. States like Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska rely heavily on their agriculture and energy sectors for revenue and cannot afford to miss out on economic growth – especially in the midst of a global pandemic.
Infrastructure projects are crucial to keeping America on a path towards energy independence while supporting domestic jobs and economic wellbeing. We must prepare our nation for a post-COVID world – and we need pipelines to get there.