Williamsport Sun-Gazette editorial: Natural gas fueling station gets a boost

Ever since the natural gas industry began making an economic impact in the region, people have been the hope that the end product of the drilling would benefit our own area first.

While that has happened with great regularity so far, the City of Williamsport is on the edge of garnering a major benefit from being a hub for natural gas drilling and production.

The city has proposed a natural gas fueling station at the River Valley Transit Center on West Third Street that will benefit the transit system as well as the private sector.

And on Tuesday a federal grant of $3.5 million through the U.S. Department of Transportation for building the infrastructure for the fueling station was announced. Hopes are to have the fueling station operational by next May.

The city is hoping to develop partnerships with Marcellus Shale drilling companies.

The bottom line, eventually, is cost savings due to the city’s advantageous location and the fueling station because natural gas is less costly than diesel fuel.

Eventually, the 30-bus city transit fleet will transition to compressed natural gas usage.

While the processing of natural gas has its environmental flashpoints that need close monitoring, the end product is cleaner and reduces our carbon imprint. And, given the close proximity to the process, the end product also will be a cheaper energy product for residents, businesses and the public sector.

Let’s hope the city’s natural gas fueling station is the start of a trend rather than a faddish offshoot of the drilling going on in the region.

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