Shale Powers America’s Economy, Strengthens Our Security

With the presidential election just weeks away, voters across the country and the Commonwealth are paying close attention to the issues that matter most to them. According to a recent Gallup poll, “more Americans cite the economy (17%) than any other issue as the most important U.S. problem,” which is fully understandable.

The good news is that America’s abundant, clean-burning natural gas resources are bringing about important, job-creating benefits. As MSC’s Dave Spigelmyer writes in a recent column, “Pennsylvania is at the tip of the spear of America’s energy revolution, enabling consumers and manufacturers throughout the commonwealth and beyond to directly benefit.”

These benefits were highlighted in a report released this week by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), an independent, bipartisan, nonprofit organization. This from the report, titled “Increasing Prosperity, Resource Stewardship, and National Security: An Energy Policy Strategy for the Next President”:

  • This production phenomenon has created tremendous economic and national security benefits for the United States. … The U.S. economy and national security have benefited greatly from the tremendous domestic shale gas and oil boom.
  • Promotion of energy exports bolsters U.S. energy security by providing allies with more diverse sources of supply, and thereby lessening their dependence on volatile, and in some cases, coercive suppliers in the Middle East and Russia. This has been an area of major recent bipartisan progress in energy policy, in an otherwise polarized debate.

Here’s what else they’re saying about clean-burning natural gas:

  • “Expert: Region could eventually have six ethane cracker facilities”: An abundance of factors existed in Beaver County that contributed to Shell Chemicals’ decision to build a multibillion-dollar ethane cracker plant here, and those same conditions could draw as many as six other cracker facilities to the region. That’s the sentiment held by Tom Gellrich, an industry expert and former chemical engineer who acts as a consultant for major chemicals companies. … Shell’s decision to build here is a major reason for why other companies could follow suit in the area, he said. … There is an abundance of ethane feedstock available because of the Marcellus shale, the necessary railroad, river and highway infrastructure is already in place, and a high percentage of customers are located within a 500-mile radius of the area. … Western Pennsylvania has a rich industrial heritage and a reputation for its residents having a strong work ethic, which also helps, he said. (Beaver Co. Times, 10/20/16)
  • PPG Executive: Shale Allows U.S. Manufactures to “Remain Competitive”: Manufacturers such as PPG require an affordable, reliable energy supply to remain competitive. A 2016 report by Oxford Economics attributes the current uptick in manufacturing in part to relatively low energy costs. Oil, natural gas, and clean coal remain essential contributors to America’s energy security, but we also must invest in other energy sources as well as systems that promote energy efficiency. (The Hill op-ed, 10/17/16)
  • “The U.S. Unleashes the Full Power of Shale”: Sometime in 2017, for the first time in 60 years, the U.S. will likely sell more natural gas to the world than it buys. Next year, capacity to export liquefied natural gas from the lower 48 states, chilled to –260F so it can be shipped by tanker, will more than double, to 3.2 billion cubic feet per day. … “The fact that the U.S. is actually exporting, and particularly LNG to places where Russia has almost monopolistic power, is a huge development,” says Majed Limam, a senior consultant for LNG and natural gas at ship brokerage Poten & Partners. … By becoming a net exporter of natural gas next year, the S. will take a big step toward achieving its own energy independence. The EIA sees total energy exports being balanced with imports sometime between 2020 and 2030. A decade ago, the U.S. was facing a shortage. (Bloomberg News, 10/20/16)
  • Former Top Greenpeace Official: “Shale Good for Protecting the Environment”: And as a lifelong champion of the Green cause, I’m convinced that fracking is not the problem but a central part of the answer. … So shale gas is good for meeting our energy needs. It’s good for protecting the environment. And it’s good for human rights. … Anti-fracking campaigners like to say that shale gas extraction will destroy the environment. That’s simply not true. As long as the industry is effectively regulated, it will be an important part of the greenest option for the coming decades. (The Sun op-ed, 10/18/16)

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