New Analysis Demonstrates Massive Costs of “Keep It In the Ground” Anti-Energy Movement

Press Release
December 18, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A new report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Energy Institute (GEI) found that the anti-energy “Keep it in the Ground” (KIITG) movement has prevented at least $91.9 billion in domestic economic activity and eliminated nearly 730,000 job opportunities. In addition, federal, state, and local governments have missed out on more than $20 billion in tax revenue.

The report, “Infrastructure Lost: Why America Cannot Afford To ‘Keep It In the Ground,’” quantifies the impacts of delayed and cancelled energy infrastructure projects that would enhance American consumers’ access to abundant, affordable energy and provide hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs. In recent years, KIITG activists have worked to derail these projects by waging countless lawsuits, protests and even vandalizing private property with the goal of delaying or outright killing projects.

“The anti-energy movement’s opposition to vital energy infrastructure comes with a real cost: lost job opportunities and billions in prevented domestic economic activity,” said Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber’s Global Energy Institute. “America’s newfound status as a global energy superpower has created opportunities here at home and around the world, but in order to harness our abundant natural resources and innovation, we must have adequate infrastructure.  Unfortunately, a small but vocal group of activists is waging fights against these projects around the nation. Our new report demonstrates just how damaging that is to families, consumers, and American workers.” 

“This new analysis by the Chamber’s Global Energy Institute underscores the economic damages being shouldered by the hard working men and women who build our nation’s energy infrastructure,” said Terry O’Sullivan, General President of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA). “LIUNA members have the skills, training, and experience to build pipelines, power plants and terminals in an environmentally sensitive manner, and in cases where projects are being stalled we are literally standing by, ready to work.  The obstruction we’re seeing from activist groups is costing our members jobs and the entire country opportunities.” 

To quantify the economic impact of the KIITG movement, GEI analyzed select projects that were either cancelled or delayed by protests, lawsuits or legislation. While the universe of targeted projects is vast, the report focuses on 15 projects including pipelines, power plants, transmission lines and export facilities as well as the statewide hydraulic fracturing ban in New York. Taken together, the $91.9 billion in lost economic activity is larger than the entire economies of 12 states.

GEI calculated the direct economic impact on projects through August 2018 by using public sources for data on job creation, tax revenues and other lost economic activity, supplemented with specific project data related to cost and size. Additionally, the IMPLAN model was used to calculate the total economic impact, which includes ancillary effects throughout the economy from project-related spending. IMPLAN is a widely-used input-output model of the economy that shows the direct, indirect (i.e., supply chain-related) and induced (i.e., payroll-related) impacts of new economic activity on the economy overall.

In addition to New York’s statewide fracking ban, the 15 projects analyzed were:

*   Constitution Pipeline (Pennsylvania to New York)

*   Jordan Cove LNG and Pacific Connector Pipeline (Oregon)

*   Keystone XL Pipeline (Montana to Nebraska)

*   Northern Access Pipeline (Pennsylvania to New York)

*   Valley Lateral Pipeline (New York)

*   Atlantic Coast Pipeline (West Virginia to North Carolina)

*   Millennium Bulk Terminal-Longview (Washington)

*   Kalama Manufacturing and Marine Export Facility (Washington)

*   Port Ambrose LNG Project (Offshore New York and New Jersey)

*   Oregon LNG Terminal (Oregon)

*   Puente Power Project (California)

*   Gateway Pacific Terminal (Washington)

*   Tacoma Methanol Project (Washington)

*   Palmetto Pipeline (South Carolina to Florida)

*   Killingly Power Plant (Connecticut)

*   Port Westward Terminal (Oregon)

Individual project profiles are included within the full report.  The report also includes a discussion of reforms to the permitting process which would assist the expansion and modernization of energy infrastructure, including proposals by the Administration and legislation.

Click here for the full methodology and to read the entire report.

The mission of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute is to unify policymakers, regulators, business leaders, and the American public behind a common sense energy strategy to help keep America secure, prosperous, and clean. Through policy development, education, and advocacy, the Institute is building support for meaningful action at the local, state, national, and international levels.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.