What They’re Saying: Natural Gas “Profoundly Beneficial to the United States”

Canonsburg, PAHigher wages, more jobs, increased access to affordable, American energy. The countless benefits tied to the responsible development of American natural gas from the Marcellus Shale continue to cascade across the region, the country, and the world. Taken together, these efforts are Building a Stronger, More Secure America. Here’s what they’re saying about responsible, job-creating American natural gas production.

AMERICAN NATURAL GAS STRENGTHENING NATION’S COMPETITIVENESS, OUTLOOK

  • TIME Magazine Editor-at-Large Fareed Zakaria: “Natural Gas, Fueling an Economic Revolution”: It was only a few years ago that most experts were warning of an imminent shortage of natural gas in the United States. But thanks to the efforts of a small private company, Mitchell Energy, combined with a horizontal drilling procedure called hydraulic fracking, it has become possible to extract vast quantities of natural gas from shale, which this country has in abundance. … The United States has become the world’s low-cost producer of natural gas. That fact is already changing the future of U.S. manufacturing. Companies such as Dow Chemical and Westlake Chemical are finding that low U.S. energy costs can mitigate the lower cost of labor in Asia — making it economical to keep and even build manufacturing facilities in the United States. … The best studies out now — such as one by a committee that included the head of the Environmental Defense Fund — suggest that fracking can be done in a safe and responsible manner. … The rise of shale gas is shaping up to be the biggest shift in energy in generations. And its consequences — economic and political — are profoundly beneficial to the United States. (Washington Post op-ed, 3/29/12)
  • “Marcellus Shale Development Puts State on Map Internationally”: “What’s going on in the natural gas industry is both a local story, but also part of a global energy story,” said Kathryn Z. Klaber, president and executive director of the Marcellus Shale Coalition industry group. “It’s evidence and re-enforcement that Pittsburgh is a global hub for innovation.” … The Appalachian area’s combination of rural acreage and urban business districts makes possible the benefits of having field operations and regional headquarters in one place, said Ms. Klaber. And foreign-based companies that were already here are expanding portfolios and strategically investing to include themselves in the shale sector. “Well-known companies are finding their market opportunities as well,” said Ms. Klaber. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 3/20/12)
  • USA Today Editorial: “Natural Gas Production Boom Alters Energy Outlook”: Thanks to new technologies, most notably horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, the United States finds itself in a position unimaginable a few years ago: swimming in new domestic energy supplies. … Applied to industrial uses, both to generate power and as a feedstock for petrochemicals, natural gas could jump-start manufacturing employment. The accounting and consulting firm PWC estimates that low natural gas prices could create 1 million new manufacturing jobs by 2025. That would be a boon to an economy lacking in medium-skill jobs for blue-collar workers. … The evidence suggests that, with proper safeguards, obtaining shale gas can be as safe as other forms of production. … The case for gas is too strong to ignore. It won’t change the world forever. But in the next few decades, it could well be a game changer.” (USA Today editorial, 3/26/12)

POLLS CONTINUE TO DEMONSTRATES BROAD SUPPORT FOR AMERICAN NATURAL GAS

  •  Harris Poll: Two-Thirds of Americans Support Hydraulic Fracturing: In a year of intense media scrutiny on hydraulic fracturing, the manner in which most oil and natural gas companies access natural gas, two-thirds of Americans (66%) say they believe the benefits of natural gas outweigh the risks. … At the end of the day, what matters most to Americans is how much they are paying to heat their homes and fuel their lifestyles. This may explain why natural gas has maintained a positive position relative to its risks, said Sarah Simmons, Senior Research Executive and Industry Thought Leader. Natural gas is inexpensive, clean and accessible. (Harris Interactive, 3/21/12)
  • Rasmussen Poll: “57% Favor Use of ‘Fracking’ To Find More U.S. Oil and Gas”: Despite challenges by the Obama administration and environmental groups, most Americans favor use of the so-called “fracking” process to produce more domestic oil and natural gas. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 57% of American Adults favor the use of hydraulic fracturing to drill for oil and natural gas in shale oil reserves. (Rasmussen Reports, 3/26/12)
  • “Poll: Majority Support for Hydraulic Fracturing”: There has been a lot of public controversy surrounding the hydraulic fracturing process used in extracting shale gas, but a new poll suggests Americans are largely in support of the practice. Rasmussen Reports indicates 57 percent of Americans favor the use of hydraulic fracturing in drilling for oil and gas reserves. (State Journal, 3/26/12)
  • MSC Lays out the “Natural Gas Facts”: The truth is, hydraulic fracturing is time-tested and there has not been “any proven case where the fracking process itself affected water,” according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 3/29/12)

SHALE GAS CREATING THOUSANDS OF PRIVATE SECTOR JOBS

  •  “Gas Boom Leads to Opportunities for Female Construction Workers”: The pipeline construction industry in the Marcellus Shale region has led to a growth in jobs and as Snyder and Coutts exemplify, the jobs aren’t just for the guys. … Locally, 315 women worked in Marcellus Shale-related construction industries in 2011 and 7,508 statewide. … As a result of the Marcellus Shale industry, Linde Construction has doubled in size in two years and now employs about 300 people, said president Scott Linde. … Joe Latona, co-owner of Latona Trucking and Excavating, said employment at his business also has increased as a result of the Marcellus Shale industry. Of his 180 employees, about 85 work in Marcellus Shale areas, including one female truck driver, he said. His daughter Jamie also drives a truck for his company. Latona said he rarely sees applications from women who want to operate heavy equipment, but he is pleased with the company’s overall growth as a result of the gas drilling. “We’re a very blessed company,” he said. (Wilkes-Barre Citizens’ Voice, 3/29/12)
  • “Natural Gas Fuels Broad Range Of U.S. Industries”: Cheap natural gas is becoming an energy option for an increasingly diverse range of U.S. businesses. Utilities and manufacturers are benefiting, but hospitality, health care, food and shipping are among the sectors turning to natural gas as well. Even retailers are inquiring about using gas generators, at least part of the time, to cut costs. … Natural gas production has boomed, with 2011 output up 17% from a decade earlier and 31% from 20 years ago, according to the Energy Dept. … Last year, Caterpillar’s orders for natural gas generators were up more than 50% in North America, said Tim Scott, the company’s electric power gas marketing manager. (Investor’s Business Daily, 3/26/12)
  • “ITT Students, Grads Optimistic About Shale Industry”: The Valley was once part of a booming rust belt, but since the steel mills started to close in the late 1970s, younger people have had to leave this area in search of jobs. Now, that could all change with the Utica and Marcellus shale exploration. Flynn Gaskill of Youngstown picked up his degree from ITT Tech earlier this year. Now, he’s working for a local company doing graphic design work on electrical systems for the oil and gas industry. … Linda Bunnell of Warren said after years of working in local factories, she picked up training to land a job as a security guard for local drilling sites. “If it hadn’t been for shale, I would have had to move and that’s something I wouldn’t have done. I would not have left my family or my grandchildren,” Bunnell said. But for years, many area graduates were convinced they had to leave the Valley to find good-paying jobs. However, recent growth in the oil and gas industry, as well as manufacturing, is creating a change. … And if oil and shale growth can lift the overall economy, it gives hope to other students, even those in unrelated fields. (WYTV, 3/23/12)
  • Shale “Boom Prompts Rush on Heavy Equipment” Jobs: With the help of new drilling methods, previously expensive and unreachable oil and gas encased in the “Utica” shale rock formation along the Pennsylvania border and into Southeast Ohio is now accessible through the fracking process. Energy companies – and related industries – are predicted to shell out wages and benefits for workers eventually totaling $3.3 billion, according to a recent study by Cleveland State University, Ohio State and Marietta College and sponsored by the Ohio Shale Coalition. The report further predicts that nearly 11,000 of the 66,000 jobs will go to construction workers. Truck drivers such as Amber Eitniear, according to the report, “will be in great demand as servicing companies, wholesalers, delivery services and construction companies ramp up their employment to meet demand.” (Cincinnati Enquirer, 3/27/12)
  • “Job Growth Expected From Cheap Natural Gas”: The nation’s fast-growing supply of cheap natural gas is setting off a manufacturing revival that’s expected to create hundreds of thousands of jobs as companies build or expand plants to take advantage of the low prices. … PricewaterhouseCoopers’ partner Robert Mc-Cutcheon estimates inexpensive natural gas could help U.S. manufacturers save $11.6 billion a year and create more than 500,000 jobs by 2025. (USA Today, 3/27/12)
  • “Steel Finds Sweet Spot in the Shale”: The rising fortunes of a massive U.S. Steel Corp. plant here has much to do with what sits below: massive deposits of cheap natural gas. Shiny coils roll off the line destined for energy companies drilling in the Marcellus Shale natural-gas formations that rest below much of southwestern Pennsylvania. Production for so-called tubular goods used for pipes, tubes and joints in gas drilling has doubled in two years, says Scott Bucksio, the general manager of the plant in the sprawling Mon Valley Works, as drillers have raced to extract ever-larger amounts of gas from the shale deposits. … “Shale resource development has the potential to make significant, positive contributions to U.S. Steel,” Chief Executive John Surma said. And for other industries: Low natural-gas prices, if they can be sustained, represent a competitive advantage across the U.S. manufacturing base. … PGT Trucking, a Pennsylvania trucking company, said revenue related to transporting steel tubular goods like those made at the Mon Valley Works plant soared to $10 million in 2011 from $1 million in 2010. CEO Patrick Gallagher has 500 employees and wants to add another 50 to 100 over the year. “And we’re investigating a new fleet of trucks that run on liquid natural gas for 2013 and beyond,” he said. “We’re on a paradigm shift with natural gas becoming our main energy source.” (Wall Street Journal, 3/26/12)
  • “Shale Gas Boom Boosts Steel as Well”: The American steel industry, which once looked hopelessly uncompetitive, also finds itself with much-improved prospects because of plentiful supplies of gas. … [U.S. Steel’s] Edgar Thompson Mill at Braddock, Pa., founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1873, now turns out slab that winds up in products needed for a whole new set of opportunities unforeseen only a few years ago. Amazing. It isn’t over until it’s over. (Charleston Daily Mail editorial, 3/28/12)

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