Situated along one of our nation’s most prominent international trade corridors, the Rio Grande Valley and its workforce have helped the state of Texas maintain its position as the nation’s number one exporter —a title that the state has proudly held for 18 consecutive years – and something the Rio Grande Valley Partnership is committed to continuing.
As I embark on my new journey serving as the CEO of the Rio Grande Valley Partnership, I have had the privilege to speak with members of our communities from all corners of the valley. One thing I have consistently heard is the need for affordable and reliable energy.
For the past two years, we have watched the federal government impede our nation’s energy sector by working to advance unreasonable policies and regulations. Many of these eliminated Texas jobs and sent energy prices skyrocketing, rising 41.6% since last June.
Now the federal government and the Environmental Protection Agency are looking to make further politically fueled decisions by possibly tightening the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQs), neglecting to realize that our nation has already reduced these pollutants by 78% over the last 50 years.
Here in the RGV, businesses of all sizes in industries such as trucking, construction, and more have been hurt by increasingly high energy costs and a lack of American energy security. These are the very same industries that have built the RGV from the ground up – both literally and economically.
As a hub of international trade, the RGV has the fourth largest trucking industry in the country, – an industry that has been essential to our region’s trade. However, with diesel prices hovering around $4.54, it’s become increasingly costly to move everyday products our nation relies on, sending a ripple effect through our nation’s supply chain.
These challenges are also impacting our region’s construction industry – an industry that accounted for $12.9 billion in economic output just last year. When energy prices are high, the construction industry is not only paying increased costs to operate its vehicles and equipment, it’s also experiencing higher prices for fundamental materials including steel, concrete cement and more.
Our 12 bridge crossings, four maritime ports and three international airports are key to our economy, serving as the avenue that moves the essential goods and products that flow through our region. If energy prices continue to increase it become more expensive for us to build and maintain the critical infrastructure needed to keep trade moving through our region and will make it more costly for those working to transport the goods and services from point a to point b.
It’s time we realize that having access to affordable and reliable energy goes much deeper than saving on what we pay at the pump. It’s a fundamental need for the economy of the region, state, and nation need to keep growing.
Editor’s Note: The above guest column was penned by Daniel Silva, president and CEO of the Rio Grande Valley Partnership. The Rio Grander Valley Partnership is the Valley’s regional chamber of commerce. The column appears in The Rio Grande Guardian International News Service with the permission of the author. Silva can be reached by email via: [email protected].
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