Opinion: Lawmakers Can Get Thousands Back to Work By Greenlighting Stalled Projects
Move these projects forward and get Americans back to work
By Bette Grande
With more than 40 million Americans out of a job due to the coronavirus pandemic, states are scrambling to help the unemployed and laying plans to reopen the economy.
Many of the proposed measures could take time to bring relief. In at least two states, though, governors could get thousands of people back to work right away by removing obstacles to existing energy infrastructure projects. Considering the dire economic forecasts, it would be a shame not to let them move forward.
Back in 2018, regulators in Minnesota approved a plan to replace an aging oil pipeline. Line 3, as it is known, carries crude oil from Alberta to Wisconsin, but because of its condition, operates at only half capacity. Last year, Governor Tim Walz renewed a state appeal to stop the project.
A similar delay is playing out in Michigan, where, in 2018, the state approved agreements to create a tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac, the waterway between Lakes Michigan and Huron. The tunnel is designed to house oil and gas pipelines that now sit unprotected on the bottom of the Straits. Governor Gretchen Whitmer ordered state agencies to halt action on the proposed tunnel last year. A Michigan court reversed her order, but she still faces pressure to block any forward movement on the project.
In both states, environmental concerns have played a role in holding up pipeline upgrades, but they’re not well-founded. When we have less pipeline capacity, more crude oil is transported by train, and according to a recent study from the University of Alberta, greenhouse gas emissions from pipeline transportation are as much as 77 percent lower. Pipelines are also the safest way to move oil, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Enbridge, the company slated to build both the Minnesota and Michigan pipelines, had a safe-delivery record of very close to 100 percent for the decade ending in 2017.
Crucially as we head into a major recession, infrastructure projects offer a slew of economic benefits. Minnesota’s Line 3 replacement would create about 6,500 local jobs over a two-year period, pay some $167 million to local workers and generate another $162 million in purchases at local businesses. In Michigan, Enbridge has committed to spending $500 million on the Straits of Mackinac tunnel, including $40 million right away.
There are also up-and-running examples of the potential economic impact, like Louisiana’s
Bayou Bridge, a pipeline extension completed last year. That project paid $71 million to local landowners, plus nearly $35 million to Louisiana-based companies for materials used in the pipeline’s construction. It also created 2,500 construction jobs.
The Dakota Access pipeline, which was similarly stalled by protestors before it was finally completed in 2017, has been a boon for the North Dakota economy. The project produced some 12,000 jobs for North Dakotans during construction, and within its first two years of operation, the pipeline generated more than $263 million in state tax revenue.
The coronavirus is hammering America’s economy. There’s no need to make things even worse by stalling perfectly safe infrastructure projects.
Bette Grande is President and CEO of the Roughrider Policy Center, a think tank focused on promoting and defending liberty and free enterprise in North Dakota, as well as a research fellow for energy issues at The Heartland Institute. Ms. Grande previously served as a North Dakota state representative from 1996–2014.
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This article originally appeared in The Afro.
October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit www.edwardsforhouston.com
As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.
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