For consumers and manufacturers, the safe and well-regulated production of abundant, local shale resources is delivering significant energy savings. As WITF reports, Pennsylvania households are seeing heating bills that are half of what they were just seven years ago. What’s more, Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association president David Taylor tells WESA that regional manufacturers are experiencing a revival thanks to the competitive advantage from low-cost natural gas.
As shale continues to deliver economic and environmental benefits throughout every corner of the Commonwealth, some in Harrisburg are pushing for even higher energy taxes that threaten this positive and collective progress. With this industry facing strong headwinds, there couldn’t be a worse time for even higher energy taxes, especially for local small businesses.
Here’s what they’re saying:
CONSUMER, MANUFACTURER SAVINGS
- Natural Gas Customers to See Savings: With the arrival of December and colder weather also comes a drop in the price of energy. … Customers with UGI Utilities will see a nearly 7% drop in their heating bills due to a decrease in the price of natural gas. … Spokesman Joseph Swope says this dip in price is a continuation of a seven-year trend. “If you go back seven years ago our customers were paying over $150 a month. And so now their savings are actually half or even a little more than that, and it’s all primarily due to Marcellus Shale,” he said. Swope says Marcellus Shale accounts for about 90% of the gas UGI supplies to its customers. It’s both plentiful and local, which has cut transportation costs for energy dramatically. (WITF, 12/5/15)
- Phila. Consumers, Manufacturers Benefit from Shale: Thanks to shale, refineries in South Phila. and Delaware Co. that were on the verge of being shuttered for good are back in business. This transformation is sparking new manufacturing growth, good-paying jobs – especially for our region’s building trade union members – and a stronger regional economy. Those who receive a Phila. Gas Works and PECO bill each month are also seeing the benefits of the Marcellus Shale through lower utility bills. … A recent audit determined PGW could save as much as $9.4 million a year if it sourced more gas locally, a savings that would ultimately benefit consumers. … Encouraging greater natural-gas end uses, especially among our manufacturing sector, will improve our economy, support additional jobs and, yes, generate more revenue. (Phila. Daily News letter, 12/1/15)
HIGHER ENERGY TAXES THREATEN SHALE’S BENEFITS
- Higher Energy Taxes Are “Not the Answer”: As discussions continue to solve the months’ long state budget impasse, we need to remind our elected officials that a severance tax is not the answer to budget gaps. … Another tax will crumble an industry that has provided a tremendous amount of jobs and tax revenue already. If you combine additional taxes with the decrease we have seen in the price of gas, you will create a situation that will wreak havoc on the industry. This will create a loss of jobs not only for those in drilling but downstream, for those employed in supporting roles. The gas industry has paid more than $850 million in state impact fees since 2012, not to mention the billions in local, state and corporate taxes to do business in Pa. Jobs create economic growth. We need to thank our legislators who voted “no” on a severance tax several weeks ago and ask them to continue to vote for jobs. (Express-Times letter, 12/4/15)
- “Family-Sustaining” Jobs Threatened by Massive Energy Tax Hike: These jobs are the well-paying, family-sustaining kind all too rare in today’s economy. In many of the smaller communities where much of the drilling activities take place, Marcellus Shale-related jobs are the only hope for reversing decades-long declines in agriculture, mining and manufacturing. Gas drillers in Pa. already pay an impact fee in excess of 8 percent. … If [higher energy taxes] were implemented, about 6,000 jobs throughout the gas industry supply chain could be eliminated, according to a Natural Resource Economics Inc. study. … To promote domestic energy production that creates jobs, reduces government deficits and improves environmental quality, public officials, academic experts, industry representatives and concerned citizens should collaborate to develop mutually beneficial public policy that helps the Marcellus Shale play keep our region’s economy on the upswing. (Pittsburgh Business Times op-ed, 12/4/15)