Natural Gas: ‘Enormous Opportunity’ for Economic, Environmental Progress

Natural gas is “an enormous economic opportunity that’s generated tens-of-thousands of jobs in communities across the Commonwealth,” MSC president Dave Spigelmyer said during a TV interview last night. During the half-hour conversation that aired on PCN, Spigelmyer explored how the “most affordable gas on the planet right here in Pennsylvania” is driving broad economic and environmental progress.

Here are some of the highlights from Spigelmyer’s interview:

CONSUMER, ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS

Our energy industry is made up of Pennsylvanians. We all care broadly about how we leave Pennsylvania. I like to bike and hike and hunt and fish and camp and do all the things that other Pennsylvanians like to do. We want to make sure energy development is done correctly and I would tell you, it has been.”

Since the shale revolution began in 2008, consumer rates have dropped 57-81%, power prices are down 41% and we’re at a 25-year low in CO2 emissions.”

We’ve got 18 different baseload power plants that are being built across Pennsylvania to generate long-term supply of electricity and to drive air quality improvements.

ECONOMIC GROWTH

A recent study by McKinsey & Company estimated that if Pennsylvania uses its abundant supply of natural gas correctly, we can grow our GDP by over $60 billion by 2025.

We’re talking today about providing economic incentives to try and get Amazon to come here. I would tell you this industry has invested enough today to equal two or three Amazons in the state.

RUST BELT REVIVAL

As we trip over nickels fighting for a tax, I’d tell you there’s dollars to be had by generating new job opportunities in manufacturing through the use of natural gas.

Nearly every single consumer product we touch today is manufactured through the use of natural gas. It touches our life in so many ways. Everyone in the Commonwealth benefits from what we have going on in the shale fields in Pennsylvania.

The biggest and most important right now is the development of the Shell petrochemical facility in Western Pennsylvania. The plant will form a plastic pellet that’s the feedstock for paints and coatings and sealants and plastics – all the different products that we manufacture and use in our everyday lives.”

While we’re focused on the 6,000 construction jobs and 600 permanent jobs at the Shell plant, much like shale, 5-10 years from now, we’ll be talking about an entire manufacturing industry that’s growing across our commonwealth.”

INFRASTRUCTURE MODERNIZATION

Pipelines are absolutely critical for us to grow and connect more consumers to our natural gas supply. Pipelines are by far the safest mode of transportation for energy. We have about $13 billion worth of pipeline projects that are being either scoped or built across the commonwealth right now.

[They deliver] energy safely so that on the coldest days of the winter, we can go home and turn the thermostat up and enjoy the benefits of a warm home.

NATURAL GAS IMPACT TAX

We are the only state with an impact tax. If you took Arkansas, Ohio, Colorado, and West Virginia, our tax collections would’ve exceeded all four of those states combined in 2016, even though their gas production exceeded ours.

This year’s collections from the impact tax will grow by $46 million to $219M, which will continue to create opportunities for community and state-wide programs.