Our coalition of workers, civic leaders, businesses of all sizes, unions and American families involved in the energy supply chain is a group dedicated to common sense and a stronger America. Our mission is to help explain to our friends and neighbors all of the benefits that energy infrastructure development brings to our community.
What is Energy Builders all about? And what exactly is the energy supply chain and what impact does it have on our local economies? See below to get the facts on common misperceptions and the answers to frequent questions that come up about the Energy Builders work and community.
Energy Builders is a grassroots coalition of workers, local businesses, civic leaders, unions, and American families who work directly in or support the energy delivery supply chain. We came together because Americans deserve the best, safest, most modern, and secure energy delivery systems both locally as well as nationally. America is enjoying an energy revolution, where innovation and new discoveries of clean and affordable fuels like natural gas are cutting consumer prices, utility bills, and air pollution. We need to modernize and expand our energy infrastructure and delivery systems to ensure that all families, workers, and businesses get their fair share of the rewards. We are seeing amazing advances in how Americans get everything from groceries to transportation to goods and services. Our energy delivery systems are benefiting from technological advances as well, making them even safer and more reliable.
Energy Builders is a group of members dedicated to educating their friends, neighbors and other stakeholders about the vast benefits of strengthening and modernizing America’s energy infrastructure. It is a 501(c)(6) non-profit organization representing the entire natural gas and oil production and infrastructure supply chain.
We are the professionals that work for businesses of all sizes to build and modernize energy infrastructure projects in our region, including both production and energy delivery systems. Our workers make the steel, concrete, and other materials needed for today’s first-class energy delivery systems. We are welders, technicians, testing and safety inspectors, pipefitters, construction workers, engineers, valve-makers, and equipment suppliers. We are biologists and botanists who ensure that projects are environmentally sound. We bring the rewards of America’s newfound energy bounty to each community and every door.
The energy supply chain serves our own communities and the public interest, and is a major contributor to local and national economies. Nearly 90 percent of energy infrastructure supply chain companies are small businesses. These energy infrastructure construction projects pump money into local communities along the project routes and beyond, creating and sustaining thousands of jobs that deliver safe and affordable energy to consumers and companies.
It is hard to estimate and is based upon the project, but energy infrastructure construction creates tens of thousands of immediate jobs and then helps deliver clean affordable energy to manufacturing and other energy dependent industries that can then increase production and hire even more Americans. For example, the Keystone XL project is estimated to create at least 40,000 jobs during construction. Another important way to measure job creation is the number of jobs in the supply chain generated by the additional production of oil and gas that the pipeline will make possible. Studies have shown that for every billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d) of additional natural gas produced, 10,000 jobs are created in the supply chain. So a 2 bcf/d pipeline, making possible that much additional natural gas production, creates 20,000 supply chain jobs in the producing areas, in addition to the construction jobs created during pipeline construction. In short, modernizing and strengthening America’s energy infrastructure is a massive job creator and a huge economic stimulus for our country.
Not really. While individual projects have a beginning and end, the men and women who work on our nation’s energy infrastructure are part of a permanent group of professionals and an important part of our economy, whose livelihoods depend on an ongoing succession of “temporary jobs” which, joined together, provide permanent employment for construction workers. As our nation continues to grow in population, jobs, and efficiency, it needs more energy and a more modern energy infrastructure, which is why there is a high demand for the goods and services our members provide. There are also permanent jobs associated with maintaining and operating the system, including regular testing of the equipment, safety inspections, environmental assessments, and many other jobs that are part of the energy supply chain.
Absolutely. Many of our members are local and regional businesses, and they most definitely hire locally. While each project is different, our experience shows that the majority of workers supporting a project work for employers in the region where the construction takes place. This is simply common sense, as local workers and small businesses are efficiently positioned close to the project, and are familiar with their communities and offer added value due to their location. The sub-contractors and the equipment suppliers often are local businesses or regional firms with service branches in the communities where the project is being built. These employees are almost always local in the community.
These jobs make up the energy supply chain, producing and providing the steel, equipment and supplies used in the project, creating jobs both in the region of the project and in other areas throughout the country. For example, a steel mill worker’s job in Pennsylvania may depend on a pipeline being built in Virginia.
As with any construction project, it is natural there will be minor inconveniences, but pipelines reduce the overall congestion and wear and tear on roads because they eliminate the need to transport oil and other energy liquids by truck. Energy infrastructure companies have a strong record of upgrading and repairing local roads and highways because they depend on them for efficient transport of people and materials for projects. Furthermore, local taxes paid by infrastructure companies support maintenance of state and local roads and bridges.
Projects are carefully planned to minimize and/or mitigate environmental impacts. Responsible regulatory agencies at both the federal and state levels carefully scrutinize potential environmental impacts and will not approve a project unless the project owner submits an acceptable plan for environmental enhancement. The project is then carefully monitored during construction to ensure that those procedures are followed. Following construction, the affected lands must be restored to accepted pre-construction condition.
Moreover, many Energy Builders members and other pipeline construction contractors improve upon or create brand new park lands, open spaces recreational areas, or other new public facilities of benefit to the community as part of their commitment to the community.
Everyone who uses electricity, travels in a motor vehicle, consumes goods delivered by trucks burning natural gas, diesel and gasoline; consumes goods made from petroleum or natural gas by-products; works at a manufacturing, chemical, or other energy dependent facility; and/or has a job (or is a family member of someone who does) working on the pipeline or producing or supplying equipment, materials and services to the job.
All Americans benefit, because an efficient energy delivery network, and the ample supplies it enables to be produced, contribute to both overall economic growth and stronger national security from being energy independent. The environment benefits too, as clean natural gas continues to help reduce emissions and helps pave the way for more renewable energy additions to our energy grid.
Supporting local energy projects like pipelines lowers utility bills for consumers, and also spreads the wealth of America’s energy revolution to more households and businesses. If clean natural gas can’t be distributed across the country, utility bills will be unnecessarily high in many areas, and low-income families won’t get the benefits. There is also a critical need in the Northeast and New England, where a shortage of pipeline capacity has caused significantly higher home heating/cooling and electricity costs, especially during peak periods of hot or cold weather. Pipelines are also needed to deliver natural gas to the growing fleet of gas-fired power plants, which burn cleaner and deliver power more economically to consumers and the industry, and allow for greater integration of wind and solar power into the electric grid.
A lot. The construction itself is a major economic stimulus, as workers earn income, pay taxes and patronize local businesses such as retail shops, restaurants, car dealerships, and motels, which also employ people and pay taxes. In a broader sense, pipelines deliver supplies of energy more economically to local consumers and businesses, giving area residents more disposable income to spend locally, and improving their quality of life and financial security. They might help persuade a major manufacturer to stay or build a new plant in the area, providing a host of good-paying jobs and durable economic benefits. And pipeline operators pay local and state taxes for the life of the pipeline.
If we don’t modernize and expand our energy distribution system, America will lose a historic opportunity to help every household and make America stronger. The United States is currently experiencing an “energy bottleneck” according to a new study by the Manhattan Institute examining 30 major new pipeline projects. If these projects do not move forward, gas prices, utility bills, prices for consumer goods, and business operating costs will soar. Local economies will suffer, and the U.S. will be forced to import more oil and gas from foreign sources in the Middle East, Russia, and Venezuela. Wind and solar energy projects will be delayed or never come online, and our air and water will be dirtier. In fact, not building pipelines in the Northeast would result in the loss of nearly 78,400 jobs by 2020, the displacement of more than $4.4 billion in labor income, and the destruction of nearly $7.6 billion in GDP, according to a recent national study.
Energy Builders is committed to reducing carbon emissions. The increased use of natural gas to generate electricity has resulted in the US power sector lowering its CO2 emissions back to 1992 levels. And, that level will continue to drop even further as new natural gas electric generating plants come online.
It is not possible to incorporate wind and solar power into the electric grid without natural gas-fired generators on line to supply the grid when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing. There is no conceivable scenario, even by the most optimistic government estimates for renewables, that doesn’t require a majority of our energy to come from natural gas and crude oil through at least 2050.
Arbitrarily shutting off production of fossil fuels would create massive unemployment, economic decline, and huge increases in energy costs for everybody – consumers, businesses, and industry – and return us to dependency on foreign sources of energy from the Middle East, Russia, and Venezuela.
Most of the clean natural gas and oil delivered by pipelines will be used right here in the U.S.A., supporting America’s manufacturing renaissance and supplying cleaner fuel to power our country’s energy grid. A small portion of natural gas that will be exported will go to America’s allies around the world and replace other sources of energy, which boosts America’s trade balance and helps reduce the influence of nations unfriendly to the U.S. And, by exporting clean natural gas to these countries, we are helping to replace dirtier electric generating fuels. Since CO2 emissions circulate globally, our natural gas exports can help reduce global emissions.
Very safe. In fact, pipelines are far and away the safest way to transport natural fuels, with a near-perfect record of 99.9999 percent of all barrels transported arriving at their destination without incident. Pipelines are safer than transporting natural fuels by truck, barge, or rail, and help greatly reduce the risk of accidents, leakage, or spills. Compared to pipelines, accidents are 1,000 times more likely to occur with a large truck, 13 times more likely to occur by barge, and 5 times more likely to occur by rail.
Modernizing America’s natural gas and oil distribution systems with new pipelines will help end America’s dependency on foreign sources of energy in the Middle East, Russia, and Venezuela. Pipelines enable new production of crude oil to replace imports, and they transport refined products, such as gasoline and diesel fuel, to export terminals, moving us closer to becoming a net energy exporter and being in complete control of our energy resources. That’s one reason why top U.S. military and foreign policy experts support modernizing our energy infrastructure.