Energy Infrastructure and Opportunity for Bipartisan Progress
Posted November 16, 2018
With the midterms behind us, we can anticipate the spate of political analysis bemoaning the onset “divided government” with this observation: Expanding and upgrading U.S. energy infrastructure offers a terrific opportunity for substantive, bipartisan action that will benefit the American people.
First, consider that America’s energy resurgence – spurred by technologies and innovations tapping vast natural gas and oil reserves in shale and other tight-rock formations – is growing the economy, strengthening U.S. security and providing consumer benefits. Abundant energy helps everyone – hence the chance for the new Congress to find common ground in bolstering the infrastructure that delivers it.
API President Mike Sommers and Sean McGarvey, president of North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU), built on these themes earlier this week in an op-ed in The Hill:
“API and NABTU’s combined advocacy experiences demonstrate that when organizations inside the Beltway work together, there are always issues on which bipartisan consensus can be found and coalitions formed. We believe public infrastructure investment to deliver America’s energy is one of those issues.”
Sommers and McGarvey write that the U.S. energy revolution, driven by a highly skilled workforce and technological innovations, has made America the world’s leading natural gas and oil producer. Along the way, consumer costs have been reduced, jobs created, U.S. dependency on imported oil has decreased and carbon dioxide emissions have fallen to 25-year lows.
Improving the nation’s energy infrastructure is critically important to bringing the benefits of domestic natural gas and oil production to all parts of the country. This includes upgrading pipelines, storage tanks, export terminals, waterways, ports and more.
Increasing the efficiency, transparency and certainty in infrastructure permitting is essential to building and maintaining a 21st-century energy infrastructure network. Sommers and McGarvey:
“Our public infrastructure and energy policies should know no party and bring out the maverick in politicians on both sides of the aisle. Infrastructure and energy affect every single American every single day — they are simply too important to fall victim to the same partisan calculations as with other issues.”
To fully realize America’s energy potential, the new Congress should enact legislation that invests in America’s roads, bridges, and critical maritime and energy infrastructure. Sommers and McGarvey acknowledge the challenge of moving things through Congress while asserting that infrastructure can surmount the usual partisan divides:
“This is not to say we’re pollyannish. We know ‘Kum Ba Yah’ will not suddenly break out in the halls of Congress, and that’s okay. Progress in a divided government does not require extreme partisans to suddenly agree on everything — just enough lawmakers of good faith to join together and deliver for the American people.”
About The Author
Jessica Lutz is a writer for the American Petroleum Institute. Jessica joined API after 10+ years leading the in-house marketing and communications for non-profits and trade associations. A Michigan native, Jessica graduated from The University of Michigan with degrees in Communications and Political Science. She resides in Washington, D.C., and spends most of her free time trying to keep up with her energetic Giant Schnauzer, Jackson.
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