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Oil lobby wants pipelines in Trump’s infrastructure push

Oil lobby wants pipelines in Trump’s infrastructure push

The oil industry wants President TrumpDonald John TrumpTillerson: Russia already looking to interfere in 2018 midterms Dems pick up deep-red legislative seat in Missouri Speier on Trump's desire for military parade: 'We have a Napoleon in the making' MORE and Congress's infrastructure plan to include policies boosting oil and natural gas pipelines and making them easier to build.

American Petroleum Institute (API) head Jack Gerard told policymakers and reporters on Tuesday that the group is making a push to jump on the bipartisan excitement for a promised infrastructure bill.

The oil lobby group, which represents numerous parts of the industry, has long been looking for regulatory and permitting changes to simplify and speed up pipeline decisions.

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“We’re not looking for a government program, we’re not looking for funding in that way,” Gerard said after delivering his annual “State of American Energy” speech, which he uses to set the group’s annual agenda.

“We’re merely looking for certainty and predictability in things like permitting processes and the ability to get the requisite permit necessary to build infrastructure.”

The oil sector also relies on railroads and maritime transportation to move products, but pipelines are usually the cheapest and safest option when they’re available.

The API’s push comes after years of high-profile protests of pipelines by environmentalists, fueled by major projects like the Keystone XL pipeline and the Dakota Access pipeline.

Combined with increased local opposition to pipelines, the oil industry is having more difficulty than it has before in developing its infrastructure.

API wants reforms at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and elsewhere to reduce opportunities to block pipelines and to streamline the permitting process, among other changes.

Gerard sought to highlight New York, where the state and activists have sought to stop development of various natural gas pipelines. State regulators tried last year tried to block the Millennium Pipeline, but they were overridden by federal officials.

“We think everybody ought to have a right to come and comment. But once the decision’s made, the process should move forward,” he said.

Gerard repeatedly boasted that pipelines are built with private money, unlike roads and bridges, which are usually built with government money.

“We have resources ready to go, ready to be developed,” he said, citing research that about $1.1 trillion is due to be spent on energy infrastructure over the next 17 years.

“By expanding our focus beyond traditional infrastructure conversation and considering the great opportunity of energy infrastructure investments, we could literally potentially double the economic benefits of infrastructure in this country as we now turn our attention to what we need to do to expand our resources and provide the infrastructure necessary.”