What They’re Saying: Natural Gas Powers America Into New Decade

As a new decade dawns, it’s important to take stock in the rapid – and overwhelmingly positive – reversal of America’s energy outlook. From “Scarcity to Abundance”, America is leading the world in energy and environmental progress.

And as the International Energy Agency reports, the benefits of American natural gas – with domestic production hitting new records – are cascading across the globe:

Natural gas is the cleanest burning and fastest growing fossil fuel, contributing for almost one-third of total energy demand growth through the last decade, more than any other fuel.

Here’s what experts are saying about America’s march toward energy independence:

“The Decade We Won Our Energy Independence”: Another huge but mostly ignored outcome of our renaissance has been its hugely positive environmental effects. The U.S. is leading the world in cutting carbon emissions, by 14% since 2006, largely as a result of fracking and cheap, clean natural gas. We have dramatically decreased the particulate matter in the atmosphere over the past two decades as well. We can do more and will, but we have accomplished all this amid a growing economy that supports the needs of a growing population with a growing appetite for cheap, reliable energy. … We are about to wrap up another year. Another decade. America’s energy renaissance has only begun.” (Washington Examiner op-ed, 12/31/19)

Local Labor Leader: “Natural Gas Important Tool for Reducing Emissions & Fighting Climate Change”: Blocking natural gas infrastructure projects takes away a valuable tool for helping families and business get off dirtier heating fuels like oil, and it hurts vulnerable people who can’t afford to pay more to heat their homes…If we really want to solve climate change, we need to focus on reducing emissions however we can. The U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) still considers natural gas to be one of the “main mitigation options in the energy supply sector,” through “switching from fossil fuels with high specific GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions to those with lower ones (e.g., natural gas).” (Concord Monitor op-ed, 12/21/19)

“The 2010s: When Energy ‘Scarcity’ Became ‘Abundance’”: The shale revolution from horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracking helped get the U.S. to the verge of being a net energy exporter for the first time since 1953, moving off its dependence on Middle East oil and closer to “energy independence.” … The rise of gas has allowed the U.S. to wield energy as a geopolitical weapon. Before the shale boom, the U.S. was expected to become a big importer of liquified natural gas. The U.S. now exports LNG to 36 countries, double the 18 destinations at the beginning of the Trump administration, which has sought to ship more gas to Europe to reduce its dependence on Russia. … The proliferation of natural gas is also the biggest reason U.S. carbon emissions have declined this decade, defying projections from EIA in 2010 that emissions would continue rising, but at a slower pace. (Washington Examiner, 12/28/19)

Labor Union Executive Director: “Energy Critical to Economy Here”: “The shale gas industry in Pennsylvania is guilty of decarbonizing the state by over 20% in the last decade and a half and is complicit in reviving the manufacturing sector,” CNX president and CEO Nick Deluliis said. He adds that the energy sector has restored the middle class and family-sustaining jobs in disadvantaged communities across Pennsylvania. … “I think what you have seen over the past couple of years, for voters here, the Democrat/Republican designation has eroded and what has become most important is what’s going to happen with jobs and what is going to happen with the economy, and energy has become critical to the economy here,” Jeff Nobers, executive director of the Builders Guild of Western Pennsylvania, said. His organization represents 16 different unions and contract organizations and more than 60,000 individual workers from the 33 counties of western Pennsylvania. (Washington Examiner, 1/3/20)

“Energy Dominance is Leverage for U.S. Foreign Relations”: With this energy bounty, we get more than just lower gas prices. Ten years ago, the U.S. was still dependent on imported crude oil, and the high cost of energy limited our economic development. Ten years ago, America was building LNG ports to prepare to import natural gas from Qatar and Russia to supply our power plants with cleaner-burning fossil fuels. Much has changed. As we enter 2020, America is a net exporter of petroleum and some of those regasification ports have been converted to liquefaction ports that are starting to export American natural gas instead of importing it. … Our natural gas strength could and should be our greatest asset in combating Russia’s expanding power over Europe. We have an extraordinary opportunity to help Europe diversify its sources of energy so that it can’t be held hostage to Russia in the future. (The Hill op-ed, 12/30/19)

“Region’s Petrochemical Industry Could Grow Larger”: It has been a busy several years at Royal Dutch Shell’s Potter Township site where it is building a cracker plant — the biggest construction investment in the state since 2011 — and it’s going to get even busier. While the Beaver County plant won’t open in 2020, that day is getting ever closer. … The next year or more will engage about 7,500 welders and electricians on the vital work of connecting the pieces and making sure they work the way they’re supposed to when the Shell plant finally comes online, which will be sometime in the early 2020s. (Pittsburgh Business Times, 12/31/19)

“Natural Gas Plays Important Role in Addressing Air Quality”: Williams’s Gateway Expansion Project provides gas supply capacity to meet the daily home heating, hot water and cooking needs of about 280,000 homes. This is equivalent to removing approximately 590,000 metric tons per year of greenhouse gas emissions as a result of converting heating oil to natural gas. Switching to natural gas is estimated to provide savings of $1,460 per year per household. “Natural gas plays an important role in helping to address environmental concerns about air quality and climate change,” said Alan Armstrong, president and CEO of Williams. (North American Oil & Gas Pipelines, 1/2/20)

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