Energy Production, Infrastructure Key to Pa. Economic Growth, Environmental Progress

Two recent reports by anti-natural gas activist organizations – NRDC & Clean Air Task Force – make deeply misleading and downright false claims regarding safe natural gas development, transportation and use. While natural gas is a job creator and environmental winner, some environmental activists continue to push dangerous policies that would threaten this important progress.

Here are five fast facts to consider about these latest activist reports:

Consider the Messenger: Both the NRDC and Clean Air Task Force, backed by deep-pocketed, anti-natural gas funders like the Heinz Endowments, support banning American energy development and have filed legal challenges to critical energy infrastructure projects across the Commonwealth. Banning safe, responsible energy development would be devastating, costing Pennsylvania’s economy 466,000 jobs and increasing energy costs by $3,500 annually, according to a U.S. Chamber of Commerce analysis.  

Infrastructure Connects Supply to Rising Demand: The International Energy Agency, a global energy think tank, predicted today natural gas demand would increase “by a sharp 40 percent” through 2040. The key to connecting abundant resources with growing demand? Infrastructure. Safely modernizing and expanding Pennsylvania’s energy infrastructure network is key to connecting more consumers, manufacturers and power generators to our abundant, clean-burning supply.

Clean-Air Benefits: Thanks to the greater production and use of natural gas, America’s carbon emissions are at quarter-century lows. Further, new EPA data shows the combined emissions of the six common pollutants (PM 2.5, and PM 10, SO2, NOx, VOCs, CO and Pb) have fallen by 73% over the past 45 years even as the U.S. economy grew and energy use increased. This positive progress isn’t the result of luck or chance – it reflects our industry’s deep commitment to conservation, environmental protection, and community safety. 

Consumer Savings: Pennsylvania households are realizing significant energy savings tied to local natural gas development. According to a recent UPenn study, residential natural gas prices have fallen 40% and wholesale electricity costs have declined 79% since 2007. These energy savings amount to more than $1,200 annually per household. And, as the New York Times reported in 2015, energy savings are “particularly helpful to working-class families who spend a high proportion of their incomes on fuels.”

Good-Paying Union Jobs: Pennsylvania’s labor unions are a key partner in energy development. From safely building energy infrastructure to clean natural gas power plants and new petrochemical manufacturing facilities, energy development is driving a demand for highly skilled, local labor. As LiUNA’s Dennis Martire said earlier this year, “for the working people of Pennsylvania, the natural gas industry and its associated pipelines are crucial to a sustainable future.”

BONUS: 84% of Pennsylvania voters support increasing energy development in the U.S., including 85% of environmentalists, according to a National Association of Manufacturers’ survey released last year.

Here’s what else they’re saying about local, job-creating energy infrastructure:

  • Labor & Business Leaders: Natural Gas Pipelines “Mean New Opportunities for Economic Development”: America is fortunate to have an abundant supply of energy. Over the past decade, technology and innovation have led to a dramatic increase in our energy resources. This abundant supply of energy is vital to America’s —and Virginia’s — economy. But without the necessary infrastructure, we can’t take advantage of these resources. That’s where the Atlantic Coast Pipeline — a proposed 600-mile natural gas pipeline from West Virginia to North Carolina — comes in. In addition to the 8,800 jobs and $1.4 billion in economic activity that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s construction will generate in Virginia, the pipeline will deliver clean, low-cost energy to underserved regions of the Commonwealth that will unlock the potential for manufacturing and investment. … Having lower-cost, reliable energy sources available to more communities means new opportunities for economic development throughout the Commonwealth. Unfortunately, some are seeking to block pipelines in a misguided effort to stop the use of natural gas. Don’t be fooled by their “keep it in the ground” tactics. The reality is that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will be the safest, most reliable way to transport natural gas in the Mid-Atlantic. … The Atlantic Coast Pipeline will save Virginia consumers more than $243 million a year in lower electricity costs between 2019 and 2038. It will help keep the lights on and the power running in areas where demand is exceeding capacity. It’s time to finish the review process, and allow the pipeline to be built. Virginia’s families, workers, and businesses are waiting. (Roanoke Times column, 11/14/17)
  • Natural Gas Pipeline Increases Supply to Community that “Lacks Adequate Capacity”: An Erie company plans to build an $86 million pipeline to carry natural gas through western Erie County and into neighboring Ashtabula County, Ohio. … The primary customer for natural gas moving through the new pipeline would be Dominion East Ohio, which has committed to buy about 75 percent of the gas provided, [spokesman Dennis] Holbrook said. The utility distributes gas to customers in Ashtabula County, where natural gas has not been available in sufficient supply to fuel commercial growth. “Communities across Ashtabula County have lost jobs due to lack of adequate natural gas capacity,” Conneaut City Manager James Hockaday said. … “Anyone who has Dominion service would be able to get more gas as needed,” Hockaday said. “What’s not to like about that?” … “Pennsylvania gets the benefit of a business being headquartered and located right in Erie being given the opportunity to expand and add jobs. This project is a win-win for both communities,” he said. (Erie Times News, 11/12/17)
  • New Pipeline to Deliver Much-Needed Gas to Philadelphia Region: A petroleum pipeline that encircles the Pennsylvania suburbs around Philadelphia will be converted to deliver natural gas from Bucks County to Marcus Hook under a $189 million deal announced Thursday between Talen Energy Corp. and New Jersey Resources Corp. … Adelphia Gateway plans to convert the southern 50-mile portion of the pipeline, which now transports oil in a northern direction, to transport gas southward to customers in Montgomery, Chester and Delaware Counties. [The 18-inch diameter pipeline] would deliver up to 250,000 thousand cubic feet of gas a day, providing a substantial new source of gas to the region. “Today, the Philadelphia market is constrained with limited access to affordable energy sources,” said Steve Westhoven, senior vice president of NJR Midstream, a subsidiary of New Jersey Resources. “With the Adelphia Gateway project, we look forward to applying our market expertise to serve customers and support economic development opportunities in the region.” (Philadelphia Inquirer, 11/3/17)
  • Pipelines Are a Safe Way to Transport Energy to Pa. Families: Major pipeline companies are committed to safety, oftentimes exceeding federal requirements and industry standards through rigorous inspections, testing, and ever-advancing technology. … Pipelines are designed to safeguard the environment. As a structure that is almost totally buried underground, they are designed with multiple layers of safety features working together to mitigate impact to the environment and protect sensitive environmental areas. These safety features utilize smart inspection technology and on-sight inspections to ensure system integrity. … Families living paycheck to paycheck are the most sensitive to such expenses. Saving a few bucks at the pump, on a gas bill, and at the grocery store might make all the difference to a single, working mother struggling to afford day care for her children or to a father stressed about making the mortgage payment on time. The same IHS and a separate NAM study found that shale gas production put over $1,000 back in the pockets of the average American family in 2015. Suffice to say, the shale boom and pipeline construction has dramatically improved the lives of Americans. (PennLive column, 11/2/17)

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