From the tens-of-thousands of hard working Pennsylvanians that make up shale’s broad supply chain to the teachers and school students kept warm – more affordably – in the winter season with reliable natural gas and manufacturers realizing energy savings from shale, every Pennsylvanian is benefitting from our shale revolution.
In fact, as the New York Times recently reported, “lower energy prices should be particularly helpful to working-class families who spend a high proportion of their incomes on fuels.” Those energy savings are expected to continue through winter, as the U.S. Energy Information Administration projects household heating costs will reach their lowest levels in the previous two winters, thanks to our abundant shale resources.
Further, a recent Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission report found that Philadelphia Gas Works has generated nearly $8 million in consumer savings and that the utility could save consumers an additional $7 million annually through greater use of locally-produced natural gas. Philadelphia’s mass transit system, SEPTA, is also looking to natural gas to generate power for its network.
And natural gas is also providing a boost to the Greater Philadelphia region’s manufacturing sector. For example, Marcus Hook’s petrochemical complex – and the countless hardworking families that rely on the facility – is experiencing a transformation into a regional energy hub. A new IHS report confirms the complex’s shale-driven turnaround and potential, concluding that “enduring U.S. shale production enables greater opportunities for Marcus Hook Industrial Site.”
As the Philadelphia region re-emerges as a leading energy hub, even greater shale-driven manufacturing opportunities are being created. The United States is once again the most attractive place to manufacture, thanks to our abundant reserves of natural gas that are delivering a 50 percent cost advantage for American manufacturers, according to Boston Consulting Group. And as the American Chemistry Council has stated, “shale development has reversed the fortunes of the U.S. plastics industry,” ensuring that manufacturers are “re-shoring” jobs once lost to foreign nations with lower energy costs.
Of course, through Pennsylvania’s unique shale impact tax, all 67 counties are directly benefitting from shale development. Since 2012, the tax has generated more than $850 million that locally elected officials are relying on to boost funding for first responders, improve local infrastructure, and expand community parks, to name a few. In addition to the state’s impact tax, shale development has generated more than $2.1 billion in additional revenue for the Commonwealth since 2008.
It’s clear that our abundant natural gas resources are delivering game-changing benefits throughout the Commonwealth. Despite shale’s once-in-a-generation opportunity, some in Harrisburg remain committed to even higher energy taxes that will jeopardize these benefits and countless local jobs.
Make no mistake, raising Pennsylvania’s energy tax rate to the nation’s highest level – as the Independent Fiscal Office confirmed – would make Pennsylvania far less competitive and cost local jobs.
We agree that Pennsylvania needs more revenue. Encouraging continued safe production and greater natural gas end-use – especially across the manufacturing sector – will create good-paying jobs, give our economy a necessary boost, and, yes, generate additional revenue for the Commonwealth.
Shale presents a tremendous, long-lasting opportunity for the Commonwealth and with the right policies in place, we can ensure its game-changing benefits will continue to benefit Pennsylvania’s future generations.
David Spigelmyer is the president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition. Visit marcelluscoalition.org to learn more.
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