If President Trump wants to succeed in office, he needs to preside over robust job creation. And a critical component of his administration's job creation initiative lies in investment in America's natural resources and energy production.
In large part, that means new infrastructure is needed. As the United States shifted from an importer toward becoming an exporter of energy resources over the past decade, it became apparent that our existing energy infrastructure was simply not adequate to handle increased shipments of commodities like oil and natural gas from areas of new production to traditional refining and processing regions.
Even after reversing the flow of certain pipelines in areas along the Gulf, it became clear that new construction was needed to support the increased supply. Thus, our current efforts to construct new, safe, and efficient pipeline infrastructure began.
The new nationwide effort to build new energy infrastructure has provided jobs for thousands of American workers across the country, and necessitated the supply of manufactured materials from rolled steel, to valves, to heavy machinery.
This pipeline boom in the construction phase alone has brought thousands of jobs, but it won't end there. By constructing these critical components of energy infrastructure, America's manufacturing revolution can rely on affordable, safely transported energy resources to power increased production. This will supply products for consumers and jobs for thousands of men and women across the country.
And although the immediate benefits lie in the construction trades and manufacturing industry, the reality is that all Americans rely on affordable energy resources to power their daily lives. The safe delivery of these resources through American-made infrastructure should be a priority.
But anti-oil and gas activists across the country are working furiously to derail this growth. Recall, for example, how they have resorted to violent protests, such as last year's long and violent action in North Dakota.
Despite their failures to stop projects on the ground or in the courts, they continue to apply pressure wherever they can. And unfortunately, as part of a newly announced "corporate responsibility" initiative, they have successfully pressured U.S. Bancorp into ceasing funding for any pipeline infrastructure initiative. This is dumb and counterproductive, but it meets the activists' goals.
Ironically, U.S. Bancorp provides many other financial services to oil, gas and pipeline companies, and also to the federal government, including the Department of Energy. The bank's new and short-sighted policy flies in the face of the bank's obligation to meet its shareholder's goals, to say nothing of the broader hypocrisy of a bank failing to assist financially in its largest client's initiative to rejuvenate and construct America's pipeline infrastructure.
The bank should be seeking to improve and secure access to American energy infrastructure and development, just as the U.S. government will remain committed to its mission. U.S. Bancorp should consider its function and its investors before buckling to outside pressure from additional "corporate responsibility" initiatives that could further alienate the bank from mainstream thought.
The path to future growth is clear. Pipelines are the safest way to move fuels. They are a key component to job creation of jobs, reduction of energy prices, and a necessary part of an all-of-the-above approach to American domestic energy production.
Banks must recognize their duties to the country and the importance of these investments to the long-term security and adequacy of American energy.
Jack Rafuse, a former energy adviser for the Nixon administration, heads the Rafuse Organization, an independent consultancy on energy, trade and security issues.
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