MSC in Pittsburgh Business Times: Shale Production is Boosting our Regional Economy

Although the day-after headlines are about economic inequality and retirement plans, President Obama didn’t ignore the natural gas industry in Tuesday night’s State of the Union Address.

Obama said safely extracted natural gas can lower carbon production and help spur the construction of new factories that use natural gas. He vowed to help do that by cutting what he said was “red tape.” He wasn’t specific.

“My administration will keep working with the industry to sustain production and job growth while strengthening protection of our air, our water and our communities,” Obama said. “And while we’re at it, I’ll use my authority to protect more of our pristine federal lands for future generations.”

Obama also said his administration would encourage the construction of natural gas fueling stations.

While at the United States Steel Corp. (NYSE: X) Irvin Plant in West Mifflin on Wednesday, Obama might see a compressed natural gas filling station that’s on the grounds of the plant. That CNG station was opened in September 2011 by then-U.S. Steel CEO John Surma, who along with then-Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon showed off the CNG station to the press.

At the time, it was in the midst of a $1 million proposal to convert its fleet at Gary Works and Irvin to natural gas. Irvin’s CNG vehicles included a tractor, an F-350 pickup and minivans, according to the Pittsburgh Business Times account.

Meanwhile, Obama’s remarks on natural gas drew praise from Marcellus Shale Coalition President Dave Spigelmyer.

“It’s a false choice to suggest that we can either produce natural gas and create jobs or protect and enhance our environment. Pennsylvania continues to lead the way in achieving both of these shared goals. We look forward to welcoming the President to the commonwealth tomorrow, where he will see firsthand how shale production is boosting our regional economy and creating good manufacturing jobs here at home,” Spigelmyer said in a prepared statement.

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