Thousands of United Shale Advocates Rally in Harrisburg

Yesterday’s Pennsylvania Jobs, Pennsylvania Energy rally was an historic event made possible by the countless and tireless advocates for responsible shale development across our region. And with clear skies smiling warmly down on the thousands of shale advocates gathered to make our collective and unified voices heard, the event’s success cannot be overstated.

Here’s what they’re saying about yesterday’s event:

  • “Gas drilling supporters fill Capitol steps”: This was a shale celebration. “Five years ago, in 2008, we produced a quarter of Pennsylvania’s natural gas demand out of the Marcellus,” said Dave Spigelmyer, president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition. “Today we’re producing 20 percent of America’s natural gas demand. It’s an incredible leap in a short period of time.” Gene Barr, president of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, served as host for the hour-long rally. “Energy equals jobs, energy equals jobs,” Barr repeatedly chanted from the podium. (ABC-27, 5/6/14)
  • “Drilling supporters rally at Capitol”: Supporters of Marcellus Shale drilling and the jobs the industry has created rallied at the Pennsylvania Capitol Tuesday in an effort to bring attention to the economic benefits of drilling. The Marcellus Shale Coalition organized the rally and brought people from across the state to march from City Island to the Capitol. Organizers estimated at least 2,000 people in attendance. “Energy equals jobs. Energy equals opportunity,” said Paula Jackson, president and CEO of the American Association of Blacks in Energy. (Fox-43, 5/6/14)
  • “Thousands of natural gas workers rally in Harrisburg”: More than 2,500 natural gas workers and supporters joined what police called the largest gathering on the Capitol steps in years to rally for their industry. “We must prevent the misguided and ill-informed from hurting this opportunity,” Rettew Associates CEO Hank Rettew told the crowd at the industry’s Pennsylvania Jobs Pennsylvania Energy Rally. The Marcellus Shale Coalition organized the rally to “show this state that there’s diverse support,” said its chairman, Scott Roy, an official at Range Resources. “It’s intended to be the start of a strong drumbeat,” he said. … [Joe Jacobs, superintendent of Capitol Police] estimated the crowd eclipsed 2,500 people, “one of the largest we’ve seen in a few years.” The crowd was dominated by workers and families bused in by unions, energy companies and the coalition. … “The unemployment rate in my local went from 10 percent to no percent,” said Jim Kunz, business manager for International Union of Operating Engineers Local 66. Drilling and related sectors are providing well-paid jobs to people who couldn’t find them a few years ago, union leaders said. “The pipelines have been a lifeline for us,” said Dennis Martire, a vice president for Laborers International Union of North America. “It’s all about the jobs.” (Tribune-Review, 5/6/14)


  • “Rally in Harrisburg draws support from Western Pa.”: The “Pennsylvania Jobs, Pennsylvania Energy” rally organized by the Marcellus Shale Coalition brought an estimated 3,000 people to the Capitol steps to represent the Pennsylvania companies and people benefiting from shale gas development. “How about a little ‘energy equals jobs’ chant?” Gene Barr, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, prompted the crowd after it marched from City Island, across a bridge above the Susquehanna River and down the city streets. The rally speeches shared a patriotic theme to match the red, white and blue logo of the coalition’s citizens’ initiative, United Shale Advocates, or USA. Speakers included people representing manufacturers, conservationists, organized labor, farmers and others. “Who here believes in freedom and the ability to retain our freedom?” Wayne County farmer Brian Smith asked. “Then you believe in natural gas.” … “Low-cost energy changes the playing field for manufacturing in Pennsylvania and in the United States,” [Beth Powell, vice president and general manager of Blair County-based New Pig Energy] said.(Post-Gazette, 5/6/14)
  • “Pro-drilling rally draws thousands to Capitol steps”: Tuesday’s pro-drilling rally was one of the largest rallies of any type in recent memory. Wave after wave of gas industry supporters – some 2,500 in all – marched from City Island to the Capitol steps Tuesday afternoon. They’d come on buses from around the state: Allegheny County, Butler, Centre, Clearfield, Crawford, Indiana, Lycoming, Montgomery, Philadelphia, Susquehanna, Washington, Wayne and Wyoming. … One speaker said of shale gas, “It’s a blessing,” and his statement was more than a religious cliche: for some families it actually has been. … The economic impact extends to the midstate as well, noted Jim Rogers of Enola-based Dawood Engineering. Dawood has added 125 jobs and expanded to three other states. “We have two dozen job openings, and it’s because of the shale industry,” said Rogers. (Patriot-News, 5/6/14)
  • “Thousands rally in Harrisburg to support Marcellus Shale development”: Thousands of supporters of natural gas development marched to the steps of the state Capitol in Harrisburg today. Estimates of up to 3,000 people from all over the state hopped on buses and turned out for the day-long event. … Wendy Driscoll works in business development for a Pittsburgh-based construction company that builds and maintains roads and gas well pads. … “I work in the industry and I’m thankful to be a part of it. I’ve only been in it for three years and it’s given me the opportunity to make a very good living.” The rally began at Metro Bank Park on Harrisburg’s City Island, where supporters put on red, white, and blue t-shirts with the slogan, “Pennsylvania Jobs, Pennsylvania Energy.” (NPR, 5/6/14)
  • “Gas industry rallies at Capitol”: The rally was intended to send the message that the industry is creating employment, providing a cleaner energy option and strengthening national security. “There was no specific issue that brought us to Harrisburg, just a desire to show a united front,” said Marcellus Shale Coalition chairman Scott Roy, a Range Resources vice president. … Gas utilities, exploration companies and labor unions delivered hundreds of people to the rally. A UGI Corp. spokesman said the majority of the gas it pipes to its 600,000 customers is from the Marcellus Shale, while union leaders say their halls are emptying out with gas field jobs. The Marcellus Shale drilling boom has made Pennsylvania the second-largest producer of natural gas in the nation after Texas. … Trevor Walczak, vice president of the Pennsylvania chapter of the National Association of Royalty Owners, attended the rally after driving from his home in rural northeastern Pennsylvania. “It’s been a savior for our farms, our families and our jobs in the region,” said Walczak, who runs a family forestry company. (Associated Press, 5/6/14)

Miss yesterday’s event? Click here to watch PennLive’s time-lapse video of the rally at the Capitol steps and visit the MSC’s Facebook page for more photos. Keep the online conversation – and momentum for responsible, job-creating shale development – going by using #PaEnergyRally and please be sure to engage with United Shale Advocates on Twitter and Facebook!