The COVID-19 pandemic brought out several flaws within the U.S. economy that resulted in unnecessary hardship for millions of Americans. Consistent and clear infrastructure permitting processes are crucial in making in getting rid of these flaws.
According to the Intelligencer, the MVP, which spans 303 miles between West Virginia and Virginia, was announced in 2014. Opponents have repeatedly filed legal challenges to block this critical project, despite work on the MVP being nearly done. Once the remaining work is completed, which is now expected to occur later this year (pending recent court rulings), the interstate pipeline will deliver a vast supply of natural gas from West Virginia to meet the energy needs of homes and businesses along much of the east coast.
The good news is that progress has been made on federal permitting review processes. Modernizing requirements to obtain federal permits means quicker approvals and may enable the faster movement of energy. And considering nearly every aspect of our modern lives is touched by natural gas and oil, increased domestic supply and access to energy could lead to lower costs across the economy. Permitting reform could also mean more investment in energy infrastructure projects, and as a result, more good jobs.
West Virginia’s energy workforce is certainly strengthened by natural gas and oil development, as a recent PwC analysis shows. According to the report, the industry supports more than 73,000 jobs, or 8.5 percent of West Virginia’s total employment; provides over $4.7 billion in wages; and contributes more than $12.8 billion to the state’s economy, or 15 percent of its gross domestic product.
Across America, the industry supports 10.8 million jobs, provides $909 billion in wages and generates nearly $1.8 trillion for the U.S. economy — or 7.6% of the U.S. gross domestic product. One of the largest drivers of employment in the U.S., the natural gas and oil industry supports jobs across other sectors like manufacturing, transportation, wholesale, retail, construction and more.
The American people also see the value in and support of American-made energy. In fact, nine in 10 support the U.S. developing its own sources of energy rather than relying on foreign suppliers.
As U.S. natural gas and oil producers step up to meet the increasing demand, we need to ensure the necessary infrastructure to transport energy from where it is produced to where it is needed. By modernizing the permitting process and mitigating needless delays, key infrastructure projects that enhance our nation’s energy abundance and security, such as MVP, can move forward.