Pa. Labor, Business, Bipartisan Elected Leaders: “Keep Fracking Going”

As delegates gather over the next two weeks to confirm presidential nominees and set their respective party platforms, the role of natural gas in driving economic and environmental gains, particularly in key battleground states, cannot be overlooked. Among greater political polarization and division, the responsible development of clean American natural gas is an area of common ground.

“Safe and responsible domestic energy development isn’t a Republican, Democrat or Independent issue,” MSC’s Spigelmyer wrote four years ago ahead of the party conventions. “Commonsense policies that recognize our abundant energy resources as an asset – not a liability – can continue to help create hundreds of thousands of American jobs, greatly improve our environment, and strengthen our nation’s standing in the world. It’s a policy that all Americans can – and must – support.”

Those words remain true today as natural gas is the catalyst for our region’s manufacturing growth, driver of clean-air progress, and has delivered long-sought American energy security.

Recent surveys suggest voters in battleground states support U.S. energy leadership. Eight in 10 Pa. voters recognize the value natural gas and oil provide and believe it will play a large role in America’s continued energy needs, according to a new API/Morning Consult survey. What’s more, 60% of Pa. voters would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports access to natural gas an oil produced in the U.S.

As candidates make their pitches and voters head to the polls, it cannot be lost on anyone that natural gas is a primary solution for continued economic growth, climate progress, and enhanced energy security.

The message from building trades union members, bipartisan political leaders and business groups is clear: “Keep fracking going”

  • Rick Bloomingdale, president, Pa. AFL-CIO: “Keep fracking going because we have the natural gas. That’s gotta be the message.” (Fox News, 8/18/20)
  • U.S. Rep. Connor Lamb (D).: Lamb, who represents the cracker plant in Beaver County, is blunt. “My advice is that they’re wrong [to ban fracking],” Lamb said. “They are wrong about whether they can do that, first of all. I don’t think the president has the authority to ban fracking. But they’re also wrong about whether that is the right idea. … We don’t pick favorites. Energy jobs are middle-class jobs. People are working hard and buying their first house, putting their kids through school, on the jobs that have been provided by natural gas development and by the cracker plant.” (KDKA-TV, 10/15/19)
  • Sen. Pat Toomey (R): “The fact is natural gas has transformed Pennsylvania. It’s changing our country. … It has led to a whole renaissance in the petrochemical industry. It’s tremendous for the environment. … Its geopolitical benefits are enormous, as well, as important allies of ours can buy natural gas from the United States rather than authoritarian governments that wish us no good will.” (2/20/20)
  • U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D): “The false choice is that you have to choose fracking over good climate policy,” Casey said. He also stated that natural gas is a clean fossil fuel that must be regulated but not banned because it has made the United States “less dependent and which creates, as we know, lots of jobs in Pennsylvania.” (KDKA-TV, 10/15/19)
  • U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright (D): “Natural gas is an important part of our area’s economy and our nation’s overall energy supply.” (Times Leader, 2/20/20)
  • Fmr. Gov. Ed Rendell (D): When asked if Bernie Sanders can win Pennsylvania, Rendell responded “No, he’s against fracking and fracking is viewed in Pennsylvania as an economic boom for the state.” (Bloomberg TV, 2/20/20)
  • Allegheny Co. Executive Rich Fitzgerald (D): “What natural gas has done has been one of those great additions to lower our carbon footprint. No city in America has benefited more from the shale revolution in the last dozen years than Pittsburgh. We were one of the only regions in the country that did not experience the Great Recession back in 2008, because that’s when we discovered the Marcellus Shale.” (Wall Street Journal column, 11/7/19)
  • State Rep. Rob Matzie (D): “A candidate who wants to ban hydraulic fracturing cannot win the state.” (New York Times, 1/27/20)
  • Jeff Nobers, Executive Director, Builders Guild of Western Pa.: “[Pennsylvania] is of the most robust economies in the country. And it’s mostly fueled by, yeah, the gas industry, the burgeoning petrochemical industry, manufacturing.” (New York Times, 1/27/20)
  • Jim Kunz, Business Manager, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 66: “I can tell you, in 2010, my local was at about 10% unemployment. Natural gas started to come here in about 2010. Within a year to a year and a half, we went from 10% unemployment to actually over employment. I had to look for people. We went to full employment, and we’ve been at or near full employment, and occasionally over employed, since. … If we end up with a Democratic candidate that supports a fracking ban, I am going to tell my members that they either don’t vote or vote for the other guy.” (New York Times, 1/24/20)
  • Ken Broadbent, Business Manager, Steamfitters Local 449: “Why should we send these petrochemical plants, for instance, over to China where they won’t worry about the pollution? At least here we’re going to do it with the most modern technology and with the least amount of pollution possible. And we’re still going to keep people that have jobs here.” (New York Times, 1/24/20)
  • Jim Snell, Business Manager, Steamfitters Local 420: “When you talk about blocking pipelines, what you’re really talking about is shutting down whole sections of our economy and forcing consumers and businesses to pay the price in terms of higher energy costs. You cannot be pro-business, pro-worker, pro-middle class or even pro-environment if you support halting projects that deliver cleaner-burning, low-cost fuel that consumers and manufacturers need.” (InsideSources, 7/9/20)
  • Shawn Steffe, Business Agent for Boilermakers Local 154: “Biden needs to steer his car out of the far-left ditch back to the middle if he wants us to support him. It’s not happening. I don’t see my members voting for someone who will take away their jobs and pensions over something that has a lot of half-truths to it. …  If I don’t have a job, it doesn’t matter what I fight for on the union end with collective bargaining. If I don’t have a job, I don’t have a seat at the table.” (Washington Examiner, 7/17/20)
  • The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia: “The Commonwealth’s access to abundant, affordable natural gas represents a significant and strategic opportunity. This natural resource has the ability to create jobs, strengthen our competitiveness, and foster a robust quality of life across the state.” (Release, 2/24/20)