US Chamber study estimates ‘keep it in the ground’ economic costs

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US Chamber study estimates ‘keep it in the ground’ economic costs

Anti-energy activists’ “keep it the ground” efforts have prevented at least $91.9 billion in domestic economic activity and eliminated nearly 730,000 job opportunities, a new study by the US Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute (GEI) concluded. Federal, state, and local governments also have missed out on more than $20 billion in tax revenue as a result, it said on Dec. 18.

The report, “Infrastructure Lost: Why America Cannot Afford To ‘Keep It in the Ground’,” quantifies the impacts of delayed and cancelled energy infrastructure projects that would enhance American consumers’ access to abundant, affordable energy and provide hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs. KIITG activists have waged countless lawsuits, protests and even vandalizing private property with the goal of delaying or outright killing projects, it said.

“The anti-energy movement’s opposition to vital energy infrastructure comes with a real cost: lost job opportunities and billions in prevented domestic economic activity,” GEI Pres. Karen A. Harbert said. The nation requires adequate transportation systems if it is to harness its abundant natural resources and innovation now that it has become a global energy superpower, she maintained.

“Unfortunately, a small but vocal group of activists is waging fights against these projects around the nation. Our new report demonstrates just how damaging that is to families, consumers, and American workers,” Harbert said in a teleconference with reporters.

“This new analysis by the Chamber’s Global Energy Institute underscores the economic damages being shouldered by the hard-working men and women who build our nation’s energy infrastructure,” said Terry O’Sullivan, General President of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA), who also participated.

“LIUNA members have the skills, training, and experience to build pipelines, power plants, and terminals in an environmentally sensitive manner. In cases where projects are being stalled we are literally standing by, ready to work,” he continued. “The obstruction we’re seeing from activist groups is costing our members jobs and the entire country opportunities.”

To quantify the economic impact of the KIITG movement, GEI analyzed select projects that were either cancelled or delayed by protests, lawsuits or legislation, Harbert explained. While the universe of targeted projects is vast, the report focuses on 15 projects including pipelines, power plants, transmission lines, and export facilities as well as the statewide hydraulic fracturing ban in New York, she said.

Taken together, the nearly $92 billion in lost economic activity is larger than the entire economies of 12 states, Harbert observed.

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