Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA), a national consumer advocacy organization that represents consumers, manufacturers, agriculture, energy, renewables and other industries, recently launched a campaign called “Pipelines for America,” which aims to better educate consumers in the U.S. Midwest about the increasing importance of U.S. energy infrastructure — and how more is needed to stabilize consumer energy costs, support local industry and manufacturing, bolster job and economic growth, and better protect the environment.
“Pipelines for America” is launched at a time when new energy from shale deposits in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and eastern Ohio have the potential to significantly reduce the costs of electricity and agricultural costs for millions of Midwesterners. Unfortunately, there’s a catch; the pipeline infrastructure we need to access and bring these resources to market remains largely inadequate, particularly in Michigan, Ohio and eastern portions of the Midwest.
The ever-increasing role of natural gas from shale as a dominant source of fuel for electricity generation, paired with a severe deficit of new pipeline infrastructure, is raising concerns about electric grid reliability throughout the Midwest. All the while, the availability of a once popular alternative fuel used in agriculture — propane — is shrinking.
Energy development and infrastructure are equally significant issues for the region’s agricultural and manufacturing industries — like the chemical sector, which depends on reliable, affordable energy sources to produce heat and power and as the primary raw input needed to create the vast array of chemicals that go into thousands of manufactured goods that Americans use every day.
“For far too long, constraints on pipeline capacity have prevented consumers, manufacturers and farmers in the Midwest from being able to fully realize the benefits of American energy production, and the only way to reverse course is through the development and construction of the region’s pipeline network,” said Chris Ventura, the director of CEA’s Midwest Chapter. “America’s pipeline development goes hand-in-hand with energy production in contributing to our nation’s economic success. The construction of new, state-of-the-art pipelines also remains the safest way to transport oil and natural gas across the Midwest.”
“The expansion of our region’s pipeline network would no doubt be a great benefit to our state’s farming community,” said Robert White, President of the Ohio State Grange, whose organization published a report last year showing that energy regularly accounts for 30 percent of local farm production spending. “By taking the steps needed to support our region’s energy sector, we are in essence better supporting our local farmers, all of whom can take advantage of affordable, reliable energy to dry crops, reduce the price of electricity for irrigation, and decrease expenditures for fertilizer, and pesticides.”
CEA’s regional campaign is part of a nationwide effort to engage consumers on how to better support affordable energy through greater pipeline development. This will be done via advertising, events, and grassroots activities across several states. Efforts will commence in the U.S. Southeast, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions as well as the U.S. Midwest and Mid-Continental regions.
As part of the launch, CEA has also unveiled a new website www.pipeline.consumerenergyalliance.org to promote public awareness of energy infrastructure and the importance of pipeline development to regions throughout the United States. Throughout this campaign, CEA will work with and engage its regional affiliates and grassroots members to ensure that families, businesses, manufacturers, labor, and American consumers understand the importance of pipeline development to America’s energy future.
Learn more about the Houston-based CEA at ConsumerEnergyAlliance.org.