It will come as no shock to many of you reading this when I state that partisan divide in Washington has reached historic levels and is now spilling over into one arena where both parties have typically agreed … infrastructure. Nowhere is this more prevalent than the stigma that many environmentalists have placed on the use and construction of pipelines.

Let me start off by getting one point straight, pipelines make modern society possible. The running water and gas heating available in almost every community are made possible using pipelines. Even the natural gas and oil used to fuel power plants is received via pipelines. According to the United States (U.S.) Department of Transportation, there are more than 2.5 million miles of pipeline in our nation – enough pipeline to go around the Earth 100 times. Everywhere you go, there is some form of pipeline around you that is providing a needed service to communities and businesses. That is why the current war against pipeline construction has gone beyond normal community involvement and devolved into a form of ideology-fueled extremism.

The two best examples of this extremism during the Obama administration were the coordinated efforts of environmentalist groups and liberal policymakers to halt the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Together, these projects would result in an estimated 54,000 needed direct and indirect jobs and more than $100 million annually in tax revenue, as well as a decrease of our dependence on foreign energy. That is not to say that these group’s environmental concerns are not of note. No Republican nor any Democrat wants dirty air or water, and we must ensure that projects such as these are completed to the highest of standards. If the rules in place to promote environmental health and safety are being followed and enforced, these projects will provide real, tangible benefits to every citizen in this nation.

That is why it is so concerning to see the influx of “activism” in Louisiana’s 3rd District over the Bayou Bridge Pipeline. In Louisiana alone, there are more than 125,000 miles of pipeline crisscrossing our state. Most of Louisiana’s citizenry has grown up around these pipelines and understands the important role they play in our state’s economy. Those same people also understand that the state is currently faced with an economic and budgetary crisis.

Now is not the time to let political ideology get in the way of projects and investments that could play key roles in drastically changing the direction of our state. The Bayou Bridge pipeline represents more than $750 million in investment and is estimated to generate $17.6 million in sales tax during construction and $1.8 million annually in tax revenue to the state. Beyond that, it will create more than 2,500 direct and indirect jobs, employing a Louisiana company for the manufacturing of the pipes used to construct the project.

The Bayou Bridge pipeline is a project that is vitally important to the state of Louisiana and the 3rd District. We must not let outside forces seeking to derail it succeed. Louisianans are salt of the earth people. We understand that our country is not run on hopes and dreams, but on oil, gas, infrastructure, and the sweat of hard-working American patriots.

Rep. Clay Higgins, The Hill

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