Plan Outlines Pa.’s Strong Economic, Environmental Future

This week, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett reinforced his call for an “all of the above” energy plan focused on continued job creation. The plan delivers a strong and straightforward message: Energy=Jobs. And as Marcellus Shale production continues to surge, Pennsylvania’s energy, environmental and economic outlook is getting brighter by the day.

Here are key highlights from the plan:

  • At the heart of any successful business enterprise is access to safe, affordable, abundant and reliable energy.
  • A secure energy future means domestically produced energy. This leads to more affordable energy bills for all Pennsylvania consumers; cost effective energy solutions that attract new and expanded industrial and commercial business investment; a reliable electric grid free of the disruptions which threaten critical facilities dependable and affordable public transportation; and cost-effective shipping and transportation of goods using increasingly cleaner and domestically produced fuel.
  • In 2012, Pennsylvania ranked 3rd among 33 states that produced natural gas and ranked 2nd in 2013.
  • Pennsylvania went from importing 75% of its natural gas just 5 years ago to being a net exporter of natural gas for the first time in 100 years.
  • Primary uses of natural gas are typically to fuel heat and hot water systems, and for electricity generation. This abundant electric generation resource has lowered wholesale electricity prices over 40% in just the past five years. This decrease has saved the average Pennsylvania household nearly $1,000 a year and considerably lowered energy costs for commercial and industrial customers. It has also contributed to the significant decline in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, which reached a 20-­‐year low in 2012.
  • Pennsylvania is committed to fully maximizing the economic, environmental and public health benefits of its shale gas resources. … Pennsylvania’s oil and natural gas industries have made tremendous economic and workforce impact in recent years and will continue to do so in the future.
  • While the shale gas industry is in a relative infancy, large scale downstream investment decisions by industry are key opportunities for a manufacturing resurgence, particularly for businesses which use natural gas as a feedstock to produce non-energy products like chemicals.

Here is what regional news outlets reported:

  • Energy Plan Recognizes Link Between “Pa. Energy and Economic Opportunity”: The report says his “all-of-the-above” policy is guided by embracing free markets to allow customers to choose their energy sources, promoting the state’s diverse energy portfolio, pushing industries to use cheap energy produced here and protecting the environment. It calls for supporting new technology that reduces emissions…making natural-gas vehicles more commonplace and backing the redevelopment of refineries for the natural gas industry. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 1/22/14)
  • Pa.’s Abundant Shale Resources Add Jobs, Opportunity: “Whether from the well pad to the corner grocery store, the expansion of our energy sector has made Pennsylvanians better off and made our commonwealth really the vanguard of American energy independence,” Corbett told a small audience. … It mentions that Pennsylvania’s ports have the potential to export liquefied natural gas, it has helped energy projects spring up on old, unused former industrial sites and companies are planning nine natural-gas fired power plants in Pennsylvania. (Associated Press, 1/21/14)
  • Plan Highlights Pa.’s “Historical Role in Energy Production”: Speaking at the Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Earth Science Center in Lycoming County, [Gov. Corbett] promoted the state’s vast energy reserves as a significant economic driver. “Energy equals jobs in our gas and coal fields,” he said. … The plan…outlines Pennsylvania’s historical role in energy production– from the site of the first commercial oil well in the U.S., to the state’s coal industry, and the recent surge in natural gas production from the Marcellus Shale. … “Over 240,00 Pennsylvanians work in core and ancillary jobs associated with the oil and gas industry,” the authors write. (StateImpact, 1/21/14)
  • Marcellus Shale a Magnet for Jobs, Opportunity: Gov. Tom Corbett believes energy will always equal jobs. … Corbett said the state has recovered 99 percent of jobs lost during the recession, largely because of the robust and growing energy industry. … State Labor and Industry Department Secretary Julia Hearthway said core jobs, that is jobs offered by drilling operators, total around 136,500 since 2008. Considering peripheral jobs created through sub-contractors, more than 400,000 new jobs have been introduced, Hearthway said. Further, natural gas flowing through the state’s pipelines is expected to increase 40 percent by 2020, Hearthway said. … Pennsylvania ranks second in the country for natural-gas production … Hearthway said most of the jobs stemming from energy-production growth can be trained in nine months, and core industry jobs pay about $35,000 more annually than the average state wage. (Times-Leader, 1/21/14)
  • Economic, Environmental Benefits of Natural Gas Highlighted in Pa. Energy Plan: “Energy = Jobs” was released Tuesday during an appearance at the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, a booming center of Marcellus Shale drilling. … It said 240,000 residents work in the oil and gas industry with wages much higher than the state’s average and with an expected $14 billion pumped into the economy by 2020. “Our ‘all of the above’ energy policy is reinforced by four core concepts to guide our support of energy source development: free markets; independence and security; abundant, affordable and domestic; and environmental enhancement,” the report said. (Pittsburgh Business Times, 1/21/14)
  • Thanks to Natural Gas “Pa. is Open for Business”: “The plan we have assembled does not have recommendations for action items,” said Patrick Henderson, Mr. Corbett’s energy executive. “We approached this as an opportunity to talk about all that has actually been done to date, and advertising that from a jobs creation standpoint — with primary audiences being job creators, capital investors, those who may be considering Pennsylvania for investment. … Mr. Corbett’s plan promotes an “all of the above and below” energy policy. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 1/22/14)

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