Matt Koch
Former Vice President, U.S. Chamber Global Energy Institute


May 17, 2017


Infrastructure Week is a series of events this week put together by a coalition, including industry and labor, focused on raising awareness about the need to build better infrastructure for our country. At the U.S. Chamber, we are glad to be a part of the effort. We know that safe, reliable infrastructure of all kinds is needed to ensure economic growth.

Throughout Infrastructure Week and weeks ahead, much attention will be focused on needed roads, bridges, water treatment facilities and other infrastructure, along with identifying the public funding to pay for those projects.

During this time, we want to make sure that energy infrastructure is not forgotten. Constructing, maintaining and expanding our pipelines, transmission lines, substations, offshore platforms and other types of energy infrastructure is essential to our nation’s future. Unlike other types of infrastructure, energy projects do not necessarily need public investment—since many projects are privately financed.That’s crucial during this time when government funds are scarce.

America is blessed with tremendous supplies of all forms of energy and the means to transport it safely. Did you know there are already over 2.6 million miles of oil and gas pipelines delivering energy throughout our country on a daily basis? But more are needed to meet America’s growing demand for energy. President Trump has already taken critical steps to increase our pipeline capacity by removing barriers and politics from pipeline permitting processes and moving forward on specific projectslike Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.

Yet, we are desperately in need of more and better energy infrastructure. If pipelines, transmission lines, and other energy infrastructure aren’t built to move energy supplies to where it is needed, all the benefits to consumers, communities, and our economy will be lost.

We recently released a study titled, What If…Pipelines Aren’t Built Into the Northeast, which sheds light on the impacts that short-sited “keep it in the ground” policies have on the Northeast and what happens when energy infrastructure isn’t built and the delivery of supplies is limited and constrained.

Specifically, the lack of natural gas pipelines in the Northeast region is responsible for higher natural gas prices “with residential and commercial consumers paying about 30 percent more overall than the average American household.”

Not having enough pipelines is costing Northeastern families and businesses.
If pipelines aren't built into the Northeast by 2020 it would cost 78,400 jobs, $7.6 billion in GDP, and $4.4 billion in labor income.

Editor's note: This originally appeared on the Institute for 21st Century Energy's blog.

About the authors

Matt Koch

Matt Koch is former vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute.