What They’re Saying: Clean-Burning American Natural Gas “Could be the Answer to Many Prayers”

Pittsburgh, Pa. – A new Gallup poll released last week underscores the broad bipartisan agreement among American voters that “securing adequate energy supplies [is] paramount” to U.S. security. By all accounts, the safe development of clean, abundant American natural gas is advancing that shared goal for our nation. And as President Obama said during his recent State of the Union address, “The natural gas boom has led to cleaner power and greater energy independence. We need to encourage that.” We agree, and so do consumes, farmers, small businesses and elected officials from across the region and the country. Here’s what they’re saying.

SAFE SHALE DEVELOPMENT POWERING AMERICA

  • Pa. County Commissioner: Marcellus “Has Been an Economic Game-Changer for the Entire Area”: Anybody looking for the story of how natural gas can light a fire under a cooling economy should ask officials in Bradford County, Pa. … The county seat of Towanda, which had been in decline after its manufacturing base moved away, is now a boom town. … Gas revenues allowed the county to retire a $5 million debt — and lower real estate taxes by 6 percent. Fracking has been an economic game-changer for the entire area, said Bradford County Commissioner Daryl Miller. “The amount of job growth has been phenomenal. The amount of business growth has been phenomenal,” Miller told Fox News. He and his colleague Doug McLinko sometimes invite New Yorkers down to Bradford County to show them the economic benefits of fracking. “Daryl and I take people on pick-up tours,” McLinko told Fox News. “Come down to see the real story because most information when it comes to developing shale energy is misinformation — mistruths — and we need people to tell the truth. Fracking is safe.” (Fox News, 2/20/13)
  • Shale “Helps Revive East Coast Refineries”: One of those refineries given new life is Marcus Hook, owned by Sunoco in Pennsylvania. Sunoco’s pipeline subsidiary now plans to use the plant, shuttered in December 2011, to process natural gas products from the Marcellus shale formation, part of which is in Pennsylvania. ConocoPhillip’s shuttered refinery in Trainer, Pa., was purchased by Delta Air Lines, which is looking to produce jet fuel. (Boston Globe, 2/18/13)
  • “Natural Gas is the Key to a Bountiful future”: If you’ve ever seen a bus or truck roll by with a sign reading, “Powered by natural gas,” you can see the potential. Natural gas is critical for generating electricity, providing about 30 percent of America’s power. It’s also necessary for heating and cooling homes, stoves, furnaces and water heaters. Natural gas also has several industrial applications. Natural gas and hydrocarbons removed from it provide feedstock for fertilizers, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, waste treatment, food processing, fueling industrial boilers and much more. More vehicles of all sizes are running on natural gas as well. (Washington Times op-ed, 2/19/13)
  • MSC CEO Kathryn Klaber: “We produce more natural gas than ever before – and nearly everyone’s energy bill is lower because of it,” said President Obama in his recent State of the Union address, adding: “The natural gas boom has led to cleaner power and greater energy independence. We need to encourage that.” We absolutely agree. And we also understand, as an industry, that this generational opportunity is too important to not get right for our communities and the entire Commonwealth. (Times-Leader, 2/25/13)
  • “PA Marcellus Topped 2 Trillion Cubic Feet of Natural Gas in 2012”: Pennsylvania’s Marcellus and other shale wells produced more than 2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in 2012, continuing a trend of production growth despite fewer drilling rigs in the field. New production data reported by natural gas drilling companies and released by the state Department of Environmental Protection on Tuesday showed that 1.1 trillion cubic feet of gas flowed from unconventional wells in the state during the second half of 2012. … In short-term energy outlook reports released last week and in January, the EIA said it expects that Marcellus Shale production will continue to grow. (Citizens Voice, 2/20/13)
  • “Shale Gas Boom Set to Expand; Could be the Answer to Many Prayers”: The exploration of shale gas could be the answer to many prayers. It could also be boon to the satellite industry, as oil companies will need cutting edge communications and monitoring solutions in these drilling environments. The shale gas revolution has seen the United States turn around its bleak energy position from a massive importer to a future of self-sufficiency within the next two decades. This revolution was achieved on the back of the right set of conditions above ground, enabling the development of the resources below ground. And the boom is set to continue. North America is forecasted to dominate the field for years to come before other nations finally start to produce shale gas and the emerging shale oil resources – also known as tight oil. (Satellite Today, 3/1/13)
  • Local Solar Co. Shifts Focus to Marcellus: Tom Joseph is taking a detour to get to his dream of seeing his company’s solar-powered water purification systems provide clean water for billions of thirsty people worldwide. Last summer, Consol Energy Inc. invested $500,000 in Joseph’s company, Epiphany Solar Water Systems Inc. in New Castle, to use its water purification systems to treat the water that is a by-product of extracting natural gas from the Marcellus shale. (Tribune-Review, 2/23/13)
  • Marcellus Production “Means More Road Projects”: The trickle-down effect of Marcellus Shale drilling has given Somerset County townships and boroughs a little financial insurance. More than $214,000 was distributed to the municipalities late last year. And according to township and borough officials and employees, motorists should notice a difference. “It’s going to be a big help,” Addison Township supervisor Glenn Diehl said. (Daily American, 2/23/13)
  • Natural Gas “Making a Real Difference” for Connecticut Small Business Owner: “The opportunity to connect to a natural gas line cut my heating costs and is making a real difference for my business,” said James Orfitelli, president of Royal Ice Cream Company.  “I was able to accomplish this by working closely with CNG and with my longtime oil dealer who installed the new gas furnace and will be servicing it.” (Release, 2/19/13)

AMERICAN ENERGY = AMERICAN JOBS

  • “Gas Exploration Benefits Economy Far From Marcellus Region”: The abundance of low-cost natural gas has driven electric and natural gas prices down nearly 40 percent since 2008, saving Pennsylvania businesses and consumers more than $2 billion annually. … Now that we have an abundance of clean, affordable energy, I believe we will continue to see job growth in Pennsylvania and elsewhere in the Northeast. (Intelligencer Journal op-ed, 2/17/13)
  • Training the Next Generation of Natural Gas Leaders for Local Jobs: Blackhawk School District…teachers explored a Chesapeake Appalachia drilling site in October as part of their training for a Marcellus shale/natural gas classroom initiative. “We wanted them to see what some of the positions are like, see what careers are available,” Superintendent Michelle Miller said last week. … “We’re basically training our teachers and tasking them with adding pieces to our curriculum that will help prepare our students to join the work force,” Miller said. “We want them to be prepared for the changes taking place in Beaver County.” Marcellus shale/natural gas drilling is accelerating in the county, particularly in the communities included in the Blackhawk area. Blackhawk has taken steps to include the gas-drilling industry in its curriculum this year, and will take additional steps in the next school year. The changes will serve students who move directly into the work force, and those considering a college path to a career in the industry. … “We’re committed to this,” Miller said. “We have to think about what our students need to find career opportunities in Beaver County today and tomorrow.” (Beaver Co. Times, 2/18/13)
  • NY Co. Chamber of Commerce to Albany: “Approve Gas Drilling”: Number one on the chamber’s list: Development of natural gas in the region. … “Our members overwhelmingly support gas development,” Lou Santoni, president and chief executive of the Greater Binghamton Chamber, said. “A number of members already work with the industry in Pennsylvania and recognize the growth opportunities here in New York.” (Press & Sun Bulletin, 2/21/13)
  • “Shale Industry Boosts Ohio Jobs”: Southeast Ohio saw nearly a 24 percent increase in pipelining and oil drilling jobs in just one year, with these workers earning average annual salaries of $73,934 and some paid more than $100,000. “The growing oil and gas industry holds great economic potential for Ohio,” said Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Director Michael Colbert in releasing a report detailing the employment impact of Utica Shale exploration in the Buckeye State. (The Intelligencer, 2/18/13)

NOW BOARDING…MARCELLUS AT PITTSBURGH AIRPORT

  • Top Western Pa. Labor Official Touts Natural Gas-Related Jobs: Jack Shea, president of the Allegheny County Labor Council, said the [Consoler Energy airport] project has the ability to create jobs in the county. “There’s an abundance of jobs in this industry, and we need to recognize that,” Shea said. “Let’s move this county forward and never say no to jobs.” (Beaver Co. Times, 2/19/13)
  • Allegheny Co. Council Overwhelmingly Backs Safe Marcellus Development at Pittsburgh Airport: Allegheny County Council will allow gas drilling at Pittsburgh International Airport, voting Tuesday night to approve a lease with Consol Energy that county officials have said might be worth $500 million. Council voted 9-4 with one abstention. … “I think it’s extremely momentous. It shows there is support for this industry,” said Robert J. Macey, D-West Mifflin, who shepherded the bill through committee. … “While the revenues from this deal will go directly to the airport, Allegheny County taxpayers benefit, too,” Fitzgerald said in a statement touting the deal’s potential to lower airline costs and boost business in the neighboring suburbs. “With this type of investment, there will be even more growth of good, family-sustaining jobs in our community.” (Tribune-Review, 2/19/13)

FARMING THE MARCELLUS

  • “Local Farmers Becoming Marcellus Millionaires”: All of his life, Mike Krajacic has coaxed a hard scrabble existence out of this 140-acre dairy farm in Avella, Washington County. But with natural gas drilling going on in upper field, he says hard times are over. … “I’ll make more money out of that field in one year than I made in 82 years of farming,” Krajacic said. He’s not alone. Dozens of farmers throughout Washington, Fayette and Greene counties are now collecting royalties. … “What we are doing is we are preserving open space in rural communities,” Range Resources spokesman Matt Pitzarella said. In the past five years, Range itself has paid out nearly $1 billion of royalty to landowners in our region — many of them farmers. … “You’re infusing very responsible people with large sums of money and they’re going preserve that land for many years to come,” Pitzarella said. “So I view this as a big win of the environment.” (KDKA-TV, 2/18/13)
  • Western Pa. Farmer Says Natural Gas Industry “Have Been Great” to Work With: Less than a mile south of the Grange Hall, Range was punching its latest hole into the Marcellus Shale on Rich and Bonnie Moore’s farm. … The Moore’s two nonadjacent farms will soon be joined by that same pipeline that will cross Campbell’s farm. “The people from Range and Markwest have been great,” said Bonnie Moore. “They’ve done everything we’ve asked them to do.” And that pipeline, Hanover resident Jim Shoup says, is leading toward the future. … Shell Oil and other chemical companies are building and re-fitting plants along the Ohio River in Beaver County to take advantage of the multiple uses of the multiple products that come from Marcellus gas. It’s these jobs that Shoup says he hopes will create opportunity for his grandchildren. “This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Shoup said. “It’s what’s to come that will have the biggest impact on this area. All these smart kids who are going to school now to get jobs in the Pittsburgh hospitals will, 10 years from now, be going to school for chemical engineering and things like that.” (Lancaster Farming, 2/16/13)

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