We're In Desperate Need For Investment In Energy Infrastructure

A frequent bipartisan topic of conversation desire to pass a major infrastructure spending bill to update America’s crumbling infrastructure. It is very easy to talk in broad strokes about our crumbling roads, railways, bridges, transmission lines etc. However, few speak in specifics, long-term investment, and costs.

As with all major reforms and spending there is a significant amount of politics between the two parties, competing priorities, and leveraging political appetite for certain projects. For example, it is far more likely politicians will want to raise political capital on an Elon Musk-like bullet train tunnel from New York to California in just a few hours. This is a big shiny new project they can tag their name to, and far much more appealing to the average voter than raising taxes to fix a currently crumbling infrastructure.

But this is also precisely why infrastructure requires good policy that develops solutions and makes an investment in our future rather than the short-term gratifying project. On top of updating our road, bridges, locks and dams and all other proverbial types of infrastructure, we need to take bold steps towards updating and investing in our energy infrastructure.

The result of failing to update our infrastructure has already shown symptoms in the form of broken pipelines, derailing trains containing crude oil, coal, and other commodities, and failing transformers.

President Obama took steps in the right direction when he issued a Presidential Memorandum to conduct a “Quadrennial Energy Review”. Under this review, a task force “examines how to modernize America’s energy infrastructure to foster economic competitiveness, energy security, environmental responsibility, new sources of domestic energy, and innovation. The report focuses on energy transmission, storage, and distribution infrastructure - those networks of pipelines, wires, storage, waterways, railroads, and other facilities that form the skeleton of our energy system.”

So, not modernizing our current infrastructure would result in more dramatic impacts to our environment and our economy on a more immediate basis. Not investing in our energy infrastructure to promote new sources of energy,storage, and transmission will result in a continued reliance on fossil fuels and slow our transition to renewable energies.

Many of the issues of midterm elections are spent on the economy, healthcare, immigration, and general chaos caused by the current administration. These are the reasonable and immediate issues that are bringing people the most concern and turning them out to vote. However, I hope that as we move forward into the 2020 presidential election the topic of energy, environment, and infrastructure become a major issue.

Investing in the three aforementioned areas would make significant strides for our economy, jobs, and public health. Making energy infrastcture a major issue in the 2020 election will also put a spotlight on candidates’ position on whether to officially withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement which will take place exactly one day after the election.

So I share these brief thoughts with you so that you can make these issues your own priority, share them with friends and family, and build the political support and thought towards a more sustainable and prosperous future for our economy and our environment.

Joe MelisiComment