Shale Unifying, Strengthening America

As the presidential election continues to gain steam, voters of virtually every political stripe are looking for candidates that will embrace policies that will enhance America’s energy security, improve our air quality, and strengthen the economy. Thanks to our domestic shale revolution, as the MSC’s Dave Spigelmyer writes in the Philadelphia Inquirer, America continues to make progress that’s benefitting families, manufacturers, and our environment:

“Advancing commonsense policies that view our clean-burning natural-gas resources as significant assets rather than a liability will allow our nation to continue to lead the world in air-quality improvements, all while creating hundreds of thousands of well-paying middle-class jobs, many of them in the building and union trades as well as across the manufacturing sector.”

Philly Inq22

Natural gas is an economic, environment and energy winner that “we need to encourage,” as President Obama has made clear. Thanks largely to greater production and use of clean-burning natural gas, America leads the world in carbon emission reductions, having reached the lowest level in 25 years. What’s more, as we continue to make these meaningful environmental gains, natural gas development is also creating good-paying, family-supporting jobs, especially for our region’s labor union members.

Rather than propose even higher energy taxes and burdensome, additional regulations, policy makers must encourage the safe development and greater use of natural gas, especially for regional manufacturers and power generators:

“No single policy or party platform can address all of America’s complex energy and environmental challenges and needs,” Spigelmyer writes in his column. “But given the broad economic, environmental, and national-security benefits of natural gas, it would be a mistake for the next president not to ensure that policies encourage – rather than discourage – the safe development of clean-burning natural gas, which supports hundreds of thousands of American jobs and is perhaps the single most effective tool to enhance our air quality.”

Here’s what they’re saying about safe, responsible natural gas development:

LOCAL UNION BENEFITS

  • Union leaders expect membership boost with Shell’s Beaver Co. plant: Union leaders and elected officials in Western Pa. have been hoping for a long time to have this problem. In about a year and a half, construction of Royal Dutch Shell’s much anticipated petrochemical plant in Beaver Co. will kick into high gear. The multibillion-dollar, multi-year project’s demand for 6,000 or more skilled workers for construction starting next year will squeeze the current workforce supply. … Leaders of union halls who have watched membership dwindle with fewer projects to attract apprentices and retiring baby boomers welcome the work, which Shell and its contractors have promised to them, despite concerns among some about filling all the jobs. “It is a great thing,” said Michael McDonald, president of the Beaver Co. Building & Construction Trades Council, who expects to see years of related development and employment even after construction wraps up in 2021. … McDonald said the Shell project will need between 700 and 800 laborers on site by August 2017. … Shell’s announcement in June that it would move ahead on construction of the ethane cracker it had been considering along the Ohio River in Center and Potter has contractors and union leaders looking at several options to bridge an expected shortage in skilled workers that, when combined with other large construction projects, could reach 10,000 to 15,000 workers. (Tribune-Review, 7/23/16)

COULDN’T BE A WORSE TIME FOR EVEN HIGHER ENERGY TAXES

  • Natural Gas Industry Already Pays Taxes: The observation that “once again, an extraction tax” on shale gas drillers was not considered helps perpetuate a myth that natural gas producers in Pa. are not taxed. That simply is not true. In 2012, Pa. adopted a new tax on drillers, called an impact fee, which has generated more than $1.04 billion in new revenue for our citizens. … producers also pay every other business tax, which has contributed more than $2 billion to the state treasury over nine years. … Pa. doesn’t need even higher taxes. We need smart policies that encourage infrastructure development and gas use right here in the commonwealth that will attract new manufacturing opportunities and the jobs that go with it. (Express-Times letter, 7/26/16)
  • “The Marcellus Remains a Very Quiet Place”: Don’t expect another gas boom to move through the Marcellus anytime soon, though, analysts warn. Although a short rally in crude oil prices in the past few months resulted in an uptick in drilling in some areas such as the Permian Basin of Texas, the Marcellus remains a very quiet place. … Companies are likely to report dismal results from the second quarter. The AP predicted the worst corporate performances for the quarter to come from energy producers. (Tribune-Review blog, 7/25/16)

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