A recent opinion piece in The Hill, a DC-based publication, noted that traditionally when politicians call for updating our nation’s infrastructure it is usually comes at the expense of the taxpayer. Robin Rorick, Director of midstream and industry operations for the American Petroleum Institute explains that doesn’t always have to be the case – at least it isn’t when it comes to our country’s pipeline infrastructure.
In the piece Rorick notes, “We all notice infrastructure needs when we drive over a pothole or get stuck in traffic back-ups caused by the latest bridge repair. But flipping a light switch, turning up the thermostat, gassing up the car – and, crucially, what we pay for these essentials – also rely on infrastructure. The difference is, updating energy transportation infrastructure promises major economic gains without costing a dime of consumers’ tax dollars.”
And, as we’ve often pointed out, it’s infrastructure that is still lacking. Even with nearly 200,000 miles of petroleum pipelines crossing the country, there is still a significant shortage in pipeline infrastructure connecting our new found regions of production to areas where it will be refined and consumed.
Dakota Access is an important part of making those connections because it will benefit consumers in our own region, as well as spur economic development in the production areas. And at no cost to the taxpayer, it’s certainly a responsible investment.
This week, a diverse coalition of over 100 organizations has come together to promote the importance of America’s infrastructure. Our national infrastructure has seen better days, but because of efforts like Infrastructure Week, we are now moving forward with many of the critical investments needed for the 21st Century.
Though roads and bridges often come to mind when you first think of infrastructure, they represent only a small piece of the puzzle. A reliable energy supply is a critically important to the American way of life.
To meet this need, America depends on an extensive network of pipelines capable of transporting the energy resources essential to our everyday lives. The ability to heat our homes, power our cars, and enjoy the convenience of a many consumer goods all stems from the availability of the petroleum resources delivered by pipeline infrastructure.
In recent years, the American energy boom has reasserted the importance of the critical pipeline infrastructure necessary to unlocking the full potential of energy independence. Previously untapped domestic oil and gas reserves like the Bakken and Three Forks formations in North Dakota are already redefining our economy, providing a reliable supply of affordable energy to homes and businesses across the country.
While we have made great strides in investing in domestic energy infrastructure, there is still work to be done. Proposed projects like the Dakota Access Pipeline, which will transport oil from the Bakken region to markets around the country via Illinois, are key to ensuring the benefits of American energy are here to stay.
Yesterday the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe asked the Iowa Utilities Board to block the planned construction start of the Dakota Access Pipeline until all permits are received from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, even though the Corps only has jurisdiction over 3% of the entire length of the pipeline.
These types of delays, simply put, are hurtful to our region’s agricultural community. If construction continues to be delayed then farmers will risk inclement late fall weather, which could make continuing construction impossible. That would mean this project, intended to only take one growing season, could be pushed into a second in order to avoid winter construction.
Though these opposition groups state they are attempting to protect the land in reality these last ditch efforts to stop the pipeline, which has already been approved by four states, are actually risking hurting the land. Our coalition believes that the best way to ensure that the land is protected, is to make sure that necessary infrastructure is constructed in a timely manner. Stymying the efforts of the Corps of Engineers by demanding another environmental review is to the detriment of those who live on and work the land where the pipeline will be constructed, and is far too great a price to pay.