We Cannot Bar Natural Gas Access from At-Risk Americans

Real Clear Energy published an op-ed from Benjamin R. Dierker, Director of Public Policy for the Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure, in which he highlights how opposition to natural gas usage ultimately harms energy consumers. Dierker notes that natural gas is not only an abundant and reliable source of energy, but is extremely affordable for lower-SES Americans and state program beneficiaries. Fighting natural gas means working against at-risk individuals:

“Energy bills jump when utilities use higher cost resources or invest in expensive technology. Natural gas is cheap and abundant, and power can be generated at local plants. Abrupt transitions to renewables mean higher energy bills for the people least able to pay, as the cost of investment plus transmission from far away wind and solar farms is calculated into utility bills. Further, low wage earners are most vulnerable to blackouts if the grid cannot meet demand. Inevitable grid strain from heatwavesfreezes, or maintenance leaves food to spoil for families living paycheck to paycheck.”

Not only is natural gas an essential source of affordable energy for millions of Americans, but it provides critical economic advantages. According to American Power & Gas, the natural gas industry increases the national economy by $385 billion dollars annually and creates almost 3 million jobs. Regulatory threats to natural gas projects threaten these job opportunities, and could leave many union workers without a paycheck. It is important to consider the livelihood of these Americans as court disputes over pipeline projects play out. Not to mention, natural gas is environmentally-friendly as it burns cleaner in comparison to other fossil fuels, making it extremely efficient in many different ways.

The positive impacts of natural gas can no longer be unfairly brushed aside by policymakers and regulators. In conclusion, Dierker notes:

“Blocking natural gas projects means higher bills for low-wage earners, it means slashes to state programming, it cuts good-paying jobs from hardworking laborers, and it sets the stage for more emissions and an inefficient energy transition. Reliance on natural gas is the answer for the poor and those hoping to escape poverty. Restricting natural gas and pipelines only leads to harm, and that harm is felt by real people across the nation.”