Let’s Modernize ALL Our Nation’s Infrastructure
Posted April 13, 2021
The Biden Administration’s goal of modernizing the nation’s infrastructure – including roads, bridges, rail and ports – is something that all Americans can support. At API we have long touted the compounding benefits of upgrading our nation’s infrastructure. The positives go well beyond material enhancements to include creating new jobs, helping communities nationwide, improving efficiencies throughout the economy by reducing congestion and delay, and – in the case of pipelines – bolstering safety and environmental performance.
Early outlines of the Administration’s plan include ambitious goals and many strengths. But it’s important to note that it misses an opportunity to take an across-the-board approach to addressing all our country’s current and future infrastructure needs, including modernizing the pipelines that power our modern lives.
Consider these points:
- Pipelines are the safest, most environmentally friendly way to deliver energy for everyday use. Infrastructure projects, including the Dakota Access Pipeline and the recently canceled Keystone XL effort, undergo extensive environmental reviews, and their completion will facilitate America’s sustainable energy future.
- Pipeline projects are essential to North American trade, transporting heavy crude from Canada to the U.S and light crude from the U.S. to Canada. This serves key interests on both sides of the border and strengthens the region’s energy security.
- Pipelines enable increased U.S. energy security. A new study by ICF showed that increased imports of Canadian crude oil, conducted largely by pipelines, in tandem with booming domestic production, have allowed U.S. refiners to significantly reduce crude oil imports from OPEC 70% from 2010 to 2019.
- Pipelines ensure widespread access to reliable fuels that heat homes, fuel cars and keep the lights on. And these fuels are affordable, with costs to American families declining as health care, food and education costs rise.
Beyond this missed opportunity for pipeline projects and permitting reform, there are other aspects of the Administration’s infrastructure plan that would unleash negative economic consequences at a delicate time for the nation. Most notably, by targeting specific industries with new taxes, the plan would ultimately undermine America’s economic recovery and jeopardize good-paying union jobs.
Unfortunately, this plan is more focused on picking winners and losers in the energy sector and targeting our industry with new taxes, which will undermine the goals this plan seeks to accomplish, jeopardizing millions of American jobs and critical investments in our communities. We will continue to advocate for a tax code that supports a level playing field for all industries along with pro-development policies that sustain and grow the billions of dollars in government revenue our industry generates at the state and federal level.
And while we certainly welcome the administration’s efforts to address the risks of climate change by incentivizing innovation and expansion of carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) as part of this infrastructure package, there are other proven methods of advancing climate progress, like those outlined in API’s Climate Action Framework. Industry and government must work together to reduce the risks of climate change, while continuing to meet the world’s growing energy needs. A large part of that collaboration will involve new public-private sector alliances that enable the industry to build on its longstanding record of energy leadership and environmental stewardship.
We encourage lawmakers to acknowledge that meeting America’s most pressing challenges requires broad collaboration, new partnerships and innovative approaches – on infrastructure, on climate and on our shared energy future.
About The Author
Bill Koetzle is API senior vice president of Government Affairs, leading industry advocacy efforts in Congress and with the administration and federal agencies. Before joining API, Koetzle spent 10 years at Chevron, managing the company’s legislative, regulatory and political affairs team. Prior to Chevron, Koetzle worked in leadership and policy development roles in the U.S. House of Representatives, including as chief advisor to Speaker Dennis Hastert on energy and natural resources policy, and deputy staff director for the Energy and Commerce Committee. Koetzle graduated summa cum laude from the University of California at Irvine, later earning his master’s and Ph.D. in political science from the same institution. Koetzle and his family reside in Northern Virginia.