Earth Day gives us an opportunity to celebrate the meaningful environmental progress made possible through the production and use of clean, abundant American natural gas. As Environmental Protection Agency administrator Andrew Wheeler told the SHALE INSIGHT audience in October, thanks to natural gas, “we are the global leader in clear air progress.”
For the tens of thousands of hard-working Pennsylvanians safely producing the energy our nation demands, every day is Earth Day. Our industry goes to work each day, knowing it is crucial that our tightly-regulated operations are conducted with the highest respect for our environment and the communities where we are privileged to work.
As Jim Rodgers, with Harrisburg-based Dawood Engineering put it: “We are all Pennsylvanians, we live and work here, most of us spend time in the outdoors as part of our hobbies. We’re ecologists by training and conservationists by nature.”
Echoing that sentiment, MSC’s David Spigelmyer recently told a Uniontown radio host, “I’ve spent my whole life as a Pa. resident and nearly every member of our board around our table is a Pennsylvanian. We want to make sure it gets done correctly.”
Clean Air Progress
The United States leads the world in carbon emissions reductions because of abundant domestic natural gas and its use across our economy. Carbon emissions tied to U.S. electric power generation have declined 28% since 2005 and are now at their lowest reported levels since 1987, due to a greater share of natural gas in power generation, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Pennsylvania accounted for one-quarter of the growth in highly efficient, clean natural gas power generation last year, according to federal data. And this progress can be expected to continue, as more than a dozen natural gas power plants are planned, under construction or have recently come online in the state, representing $12.6 billion in new investment.
Meanwhile, total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2017 reached their lowest levels since 1992, according to the EPA Greenhouse Gas Inventory released earlier this month. Asthma-inducing and ozone-harming air pollutants have plummeted during the same period, and, EPA data also concludes total methane emissions are 19 percent lower than 1990 – all significant environmental wins thanks in large part to surging domestic natural gas production and consumption.
Natural Gas Impact Tax Funds Environmental Initiatives
Pennsylvania’s unique tax on natural gas – the impact fee – has generated $462 million for statewide environmental and conservation initiatives, including the nationally recognized Growing Greener program. This significant revenue resource is in addition to the hundreds of millions of dollars generated for local governments to fund local community-enhancing projects, including open space conservation, local parks, hiking trails and playgrounds, and key water, sewer, road and bridge improvements.
Global Solution to Cleaner Air, Stronger Economies
With the construction of key export terminals, U.S. liquified natural gas (LNG) can be shipped internationally, offering a clean energy option for countries looking for affordable, realistic solutions to meet clean air goals. LNG export capacity – from locations like Cove Point in eastern Maryland – is projected to reach 8.9 billion cubic feet per day by the end of 2019, as more terminals come online, according to the EIA.
As MSC’s Spigelmyer wrote in the Tribune-Review in December,
From Erie to Philadelphia, Pennsylvanians want the same things: jobs, a steady or growing economy, a healthy environment and above all, opportunity for future generations. This is exactly what natural gas delivers.
Neither a transport nor a bridge fuel, natural gas is a destination fuel that has a vital part to play in how we continue to power our modern world. Our industry, born on the back of private investment and entrepreneurial spirit, is constantly investing, innovating and creating new partnerships to meet rising energy demand.
Similarly, through bipartisan collaboration and the development of energy solutions, it can lead the charge in achieving climate progress.
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