NSSGA’s Johnson addresses infrastructure at Roundtable

By |  August 9, 2021


P&Q: On the energy front, President Biden and his administration have made climate change a driving issue. For example, through executive order the president eliminated subsidies for fossil fuels and canceled the Keystone XL pipeline. The administration is pushing hard for electric vehicles, too. It’s clear the Biden administration is pushing for some drastic change in energy, and that will undoubtedly have some impact on our industry sooner or later. What is NSSGA’s stance on the president’s approach to energy? Are you getting any feedback from NSSGA members on what the reduction – or, perhaps, elimination – of oil and gas might have on their businesses?

JOHNSON: Certainly, things are changing. I think the pace of change will be dictated by how readily people adopt that change. I don’t think you’re going to force it artificially. But I do see it moving in that direction.

Think about automated vehicles. You would have thought that was absolute nonsense to have a fully automated vehicle operating on the road or in a quarry 10 years ago. But now, nobody thinks automated vehicles are a fantasy anymore. It’s a reality, and it’s going to continue to be more and more prevalent as people adjust and move toward it as it becomes more affordable. The same thing is going to happen with infrastructure.

When that catches on and that starts to become widespread, I think the pace of change will accelerate along with the adoption of the technology. The batteries are getting better, and as the battery technology improves you’re going to see the bigger and better products come to light quickly.

What does that mean for us at NSSGA? I think it means that our quarries will be more efficient, and they will be cleaner-operating. We’re already the cleanest business in the mining industry. We’re only going to be cleaner when we move toward more electric vehicles. That’s just a fact.

For us as we think about our materials, there’s a lot of rock in the pad for a wind turbine. And all these electrical vehicle charging stations require additional electric infrastructure, which is also built on concrete. So, I’m all for it. As we think about that, we’ve got to look for the opportunities and what the reality is that’s changing in front of us – and take advantage of it.

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