DOE Hearing Highlights: Shale Creating “a Huge Manufacturing Renaissance” and “Lifelines to Good Union Jobs”

Carnegie Mellon University was the stage this week for a U.S Department of Energy Quadrennial Energy Review public hearing focused on Natural Gas: Transmission, Storage and Distribution. Energy secretary Ernest Moniz – who has stated that shale development is “environmentally safe and economically stimulating” – led the forum, which included a diverse set of experts and key stakeholders. Highlights of the event – which focused on enabling Pennsylvania and the nation to fully realize the economic and environmental benefits of American natural gas – are below.

Highlights from Secretary Moniz’s opening remarks (video):

  • “The Marcellus has gone from roughly two to 20 percent of the nation’s natural gas in seven years. This is unprecedented.”
  • “The shale gas revolution certainly is impacting so many major sectors in our society. … We are seeing a huge manufacturing renaissance … and could see as much as $200 billion invested in new manufacturing capacity pretty much directly because of the shale gas revolution. It’s enormous.”
  • “The U.S. is roughly halfway to President Obamas goal of a 17 percent reduction [in carbon emissions] by 2020, and about half that has been accomplished because of natural gas. So natural gas, even as it has stimulated the economy in so many ways, it has also been contributing to our low CO2 emissions.”
  • “President Obama continues to advocate for our expansion of this production for the impacts on our economy. … The president often uses the term ‘ladders of opportunity to the middle-class’. I think that one can certainly argue that the energy industry has been a premier provider of those ladders of opportunity over the last few years that will continue.”

Highlights from expert panelists (MSC written testimony available here):

  • LiUNA: Shale a “Path Out of Poverty”: The Laborers work in multiple sectors of the energy industry. … We estimate that about a quarter of all the work our members do is related to energy. … Since the Marcellus natural gas boom, our members have worked over 5 million hours on building transmission pipelines in the region. Pipeline work by our members has generated tens of millions of dollars in state income tax revenue, and provided relief and security during the economic downturn. … According to our analysis, over 120 pipeline projects have been proposed or are currently under construction in West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. … These and other energy investments are good for families and good for businesses. They also have the power to transform people’s lives by providing steady, quality, long-term employment. … In Pennsylvania alone, we’ve completed 900 jobs since 2011. … For our members, they’re lifelines to good union jobs with pay that supports families and quality healthcare and retirement benefits. For many, it has been a path out of poverty. (Laborers’ International Union of North America, 7/21/14)
  • “Natural Gas Can Play Critical Role in Meeting our Energy Needs”: APGA has long-maintained that natural gas…can play a critical role in meeting our energy needs, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing overall efficiency. … Simply put, increasing the direct-use of natural gas is the surest, quickest and most cost-effective avenue to achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gases. Unfortunately, over the years federal policies has moved the end-use market towards an all-electric society and this policy decision has failed recognized the environmental and economic benefits of the direct-use of natural gas. (American Public Gas Association Statement, 7/21/14)
  • Shale is “Creating Jobs, Raising Standard of Living”: Pennsylvanians have witnessed the steady transformation of the commonwealth into the second largest natural gas producing state in the nation. We are in the midst of an energy revolution and with that comes jobs, opportunities … Pa. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) plays a vital role in the comprehensive oversight and regulation of the oil and gas industry in Pennsylvania. … DEP has provided a strong regulatory framework improving environmental controls while allowing for the advancement of natural gas infrastructure development over the last several years. Through the extensive network of state laws and their implementing regulations and specific permit requirements, pipelines have been able to be constructed responsibly across the state to deliver Pennsylvania’s natural gas resources to consumers. … We’re fortunate enough in Pennsylvania to have these diverse and abundant energy supplies and as Governor Corbett outlines in his State Energy Plan, Pennsylvania will use these resources to move Pennsylvania forward: creating jobs; raising the standard of living for citizens; fostering a business climate that rewards innovation; advancing our nation’s energy independence and enhancing our environment. (Pa. DEP, 7/21/14)
  • “Energy Jobs Are Good Jobs and Secure the Nation’s Energy Future”: West Virginia is an energy state. With a population of just 1.8 million, the state contributes significantly to the energy needs of the eastern United States….  Today, West Virginia’s chemical industry directly employs 10,000 individuals, the state’s largest manufacturing sector employer. … West Virginia quickly recognized the tremendous job and value-added opportunity represented by its liquids-rich shale development. … The state’s rapidly developing ethane supply, existing natural gas and transportation infrastructure, and its trained chemical workforce are strong competitive attributes. … West Virginia’s big back yard, with unprecedented production levels of natural gas and associated natural gas liquids from shale resources, beckon the industry. As it continues to grow, diversifying the location of the infrastructure to support it will benefit more local economies, make the U.S. chemical industry more resilient and increase the likelihood of more local citizens participating in the benefits of shale gas. (WV Division of Energy, 7/21/14)

Today’s media coverage:

  • Sec. Moniz: Natural Gas “Tremendously Important” to America: “The Marcellus, in terms of dry gas so-called, has gone from like 2 to roughly 20 percent of the nation’s natural gas in a period of like seven years,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “This is unprecedented really in this kind of a business.” … “Pennsylvania’s now the second-largest natural gas producer,” [Congressman Tim] Murphy said. “Shale gas is 25 percent of domestic production. A decade ago it was only one percent of this. In the next two years, Marcellus will supply almost one-fifth of the country’s gas supply.” … “Propane, butane, ethane, other anes,” said Moniz. “These are tremendously important to the economic equation, they are tremendously important as feed stock to industry, they are tremendously important for heating many parts of our country, our homes are heated with propane for example.” Plus, Moniz said the natural gas industry has created a manufacturing renaissance in the U.S. “We could see as much as $200 billion invested in new manufacturing capacity pretty much directly because of the shale gas revolution – it’s enormous.” (WESA, 7/21/14)
  • Shale Creating a “Huge Manufacturing Renaissance”: As the world’s largest producer of natural gas, the U.S. has numerous economic opportunities. … [Secretary Moniz] said the shale gas revolution of the past decade, which by 2011 placed the U.S. as the top natural gas producer in the world, has created a large infrastructure challenge. … “The shale gas revolution is impacting so many different sectors in our society.” … With the production of “wet gas,” Moniz added, there is the potential for a “huge manufacturing renaissance” related to the processing of ethane into a variety of plastics and petrochemicals.  … The natural gas revolution is particularly felt in Pennsylvania, said Hayley Book, policy director for DEP, who stated that natural gas production in 2013 was six times what it was in 2010. Some pipeline companies, like Energy Transfer Partners, are reversing the flow of some of their existing pipeline assets to adjust to the amount of gas now coming out of the Marcellus, said Shelley Corman, executive vice president for ETP’s interstate pipelines. Rory Miller of Williams Co.’s Atlantic-Gulf Assets, said the company currently has $4.8 billion worth of pipeline projects, but said permitting and other regulatory challenges often mean a slow process for building out infrastructure. (Observer-Reporter, 7/21/14)