Energy leader urges spending beyond bridges and roads
WASHINGTON — Jack Gerard, the leader of the nation’s biggest oil and gas industry trade group, urged President Donald Trump last week to remember the energy sector when it comes to fixing the nation’s infrastructure.
Energy lobbyists are eager to see Congress take steps to speed oil and gas pipeline permitting, modernize the nation’s power grid to address the expansion of wind, solar and nontraditional energy sources, and provide better defense against cyber threats. Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute, made his comments as Trump works on getting an infrastructure bill to Congress later this year.
“Too often, the infrastructure conversation is limited to highways, roads and bridges — which rely heavily on government funding,” he said in a speech. “By expanding our focus and considering the great opportunity of energy infrastructure investments, we could potentially double the economic benefits of infrastructure in this country.”
Gerard applauded the administration’s announcement last week that it planned to open up 90 percent of U.S. coastlines to offshore drilling, including the Atlantic and Arctic oceans.
“It represents a bold acknowledgement of the industry’s advancements in technology to safely access U.S. energy resources,” he said.
But Gerard was less happy about the White House’s moves to renegotiate global trade agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement.
“Global trade flows have played a critical role in America’s energy renaissance — spurring economic growth and investment and creating American jobs,” he said. “As the administration continues negotiations with Canada and Mexico, we urge them to seek modernization in ways that maintain these benefits.”