Labor Leaders, Legislators Call for Energy Infrastructure Expansion

Labor leaders, a bipartisan group of lawmakers and leaders within the energy industry gathered in Harrisburg on Tuesday for a Capitol news conference highlighting the safety, economic benefit, and consumer need for a robust energy pipeline network.

Pennsylvania’s energy industry has a $44 billion economic impact, supports 322,600 jobs and generates $23 billion in wages, Senator Camera Bartolotta said during the press conference. Safely modernizing and expanding Pennsylvania’s energy infrastructure network supports the continued growth of the job-creating energy sector while connecting consumers with affordable, reliable natural gas.

These pipelines, in fact, are built overwhelmingly by the state’s hard-working union building trades men and women. As Mike Trofa, a business agent for Steamfitters Local 420 in Philadelphia said, “Pennsylvania’s building trades are skilled, experienced laborers and our highest priority on these projects is safety.”

Watch more of Trofa’s remarks:

Echoing Trofa’s words, MSC’s David Spigelmyer underscored the partnership between the energy industry and the region’s building trades, warning against radical activist policies that would stunt economic growth and threaten thousands of good-paying Pennsylvanian jobs:

“Energy pipelines provide good jobs that pay family-sustaining wages and benefits. We are proud of the growing partnership between Pennsylvania’s energy sector and building trades, which has driven many union halls to full employment. It is primarily these skilled trades men and women who are building the infrastructure that is needed to connect homes, schools, hospitals and manufacturers to abundant, clean and local natural gas.

Pipelines are the safest, most reliable and environmentally responsible means to supply consumers with the affordable energy they need, and we stand with the thousands of hard-working Pennsylvania union members in opposition to short-sighted policies that jeopardize this important progress.”

Here’s additional highlights from yesterday’s event:

Senator Camera Bartolotta (R)

“By a wide margin, pipelines are the safest and most efficient means of transporting gas and oil products to consumers. …Pennsylvania is uniquely positioned to be a national leader in the gas and oil industries for decades into the future, particularly based on our rich deposits of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale region, coupled with our skilled work force that we are developing more and more every day. …The future of these industries hinges on our willingness to support pipeline projects that show the greatest promise in terms of economic development and public safety.”

Senator John Blake (R)

“I have a senate district where two thirds of it has no access to natural gas; they’re living on propane or oil. That’s a function of the difficulty in deploying infrastructure to provide access to our business community and our citizens. Public safety is paramount, but we have to keep in mind the value of this industry and the demand side of this equation and giving access where it’s needed – safe access to a resource that’s abundant and can change our economy.”

Senator Sharif Street (D)

“We in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania have an opportunity that we must take seriously. We have the opportunity to create a number of jobs. We have the opportunity to bring down the heating costs for countless Pennsylvanians. We have an opportunity to build and take advantage of the energy economy that were previously unavailable to us. We have an opportunity to move towards an energy source that will reduce our carbon footprint.

… As we develop these resources, we need to make sure that we do it responsibly and safely. But we also need to make sure that we take the appropriate attention, so we do not squander this opportunity. So I’m proud to stand with my colleagues to stand for jobs, a cleaner future, and a brighter, prosperous Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

Mike Trofa, Steamfitters Local 420

I cannot say enough about the pipelines and the processing facilities they supply. They’re a generational transformation – they mean sustainable jobs for our workers and a lifetime of opportunities for people across the state. But none of that happens without the pipeline network that safely and responsibly transport and delivers the product for processing.”

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