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Investment in Energy and Transportation Will Boost America’s Manufacturing Sector and Spur the Economy

A recent Department of Energy-sponsored report concluded that the steel industry in the U.S. is the most energy efficient of any major steel producing country. In order to reduce its energy costs, the domestic steel industry has lowered its energy-intensity by 30% since 1990. Nevertheless, as major consumers of energy and natural gas in particular, steel companies are negatively impacted by high prices. Reliable and plentiful natural gas is essential to our current productivity, future growth and international competitiveness.

That is why I am urging that every member of the House of Representatives cosponsor H.R. 1861, the Infrastructure Jobs and Energy Independence Act, introduced by Reps. Tim Murphy (R-PA), Bill Shuster (R-PA), Jim Costa (D-CA) and Tim Walz (D-MN). This bipartisan legislation will expand access to America’s domestic offshore oil and natural gas resources, while using the anticipated revenues to rebuild our crumbling transportation system.

Steel, an energy-intensive, trade-exposed industry, is negatively impacted when energy costs spike, weakening its overall international competiveness. Access to a stable supply of energy is vital to our livelihood. We need to guarantee these resources are readily available and not left to the mercy of an unstable political climate abroad. H.R. 1861 will lower our industry’s energy costs while simultaneously investing in the future of America’s clean energy, particularly natural gas, which is both reliable and plentiful and is essential to the steel industry’s productivity. Furthermore, steel pipe and tubing are both integral to gathering and transmission of natural gas.

Additionally, steel plays a crucial role in transportation infrastructure repair and development through steel plate, beams, reinforcing rebar, guardrails, signage, and utility poles, to name a few examples. As the backbone of the business supply chain, it is imperative that we have a functioning and safe transportation system. However, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 25 percent of U.S. bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete contributing to traffic congestions that cost our country $200 billion a year. Our nation’s transportation infrastructure must become a top priority if we want to maintain a competitive edge.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, national unemployment continues to hover around nine percent, with the actual rate of those out of work likely much higher. While the economy is in better shape than it was a year ago, much work remains to be done. Congressman Murphy and his bipartisan colleagues have stated that their bill, HR 1861, will create 1.2 million new jobs annually and $8 trillion in economic output without raising taxes. Investing in clean energy and restoring America’s transportation infrastructure is a common sense solution that will create good-paying jobs and lessen our dependence on foreign oil.

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