Opponents of clean, domestic natural gas make unserious claims in a June 7 article (“Presentation focuses on fracking’s future”) that completely ignore the broad and clear benefits tied to natural gas development, which is a generational opportunity for our region.
In just a decade, the shale revolution has created hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs across the commonwealth, helping to boost our economy during a time when we needed it most.
There’s no doubt about the strong demand for new energy infrastructure as limited pipeline access puts regional natural gas producers at a deep pricing disadvantage as compared to other regions across the United States.
And it’s true that our industry still faces tough market conditions, which are worsened by regulatory uncertainty and the constant threat of additional energy taxes that will erode our competitiveness with other states and add costs to Pennsylvania consumers.
That said, Pennsylvania’s drilling activity is up by nearly 25 percent from just seven months ago.
Consumers, families and small businesses have seen their natural gas costs fall 70 percent since 2008. Our air is cleaner due to one-third of our power now being generated by natural gas. And our once deep and dangerous dependence on foreign energy supplies is all but history, as more homegrown energy is strengthening America’s standing around the world.
What’s perhaps most exciting is the positive and bright manufacturing outlook we now have thanks to shale. Shell’s $6 billion petrochemical plant under construction in Beaver County will not only support more than 6,000 construction jobs and 600 permanent jobs, but it will spark development of a whole new generation of downstream manufacturing investments. In fact, a recent report identified $60 billion in potential GDP growth and more than 100,000 new jobs over the next several years if we commit to common sense policies.
These opportunities continue to grow because natural gas is a winner today, and will generate huge benefits well into the future. While these facts may be hard to embrace for those who want deny these important economic, environmental and national security benefits, this is great news for hardworking Pennsylvania families and for America.