Op-Ed: Working together for a better and brighter Pennsylvania

opinion

by David Callahan, President of the Pittsburgh-based Marcellus Shale Coalition

Pennsylvania is often ground zero for political battles and policy debates, with the purple makeup of our state serving as a bellwether for national sentiment on a broad range of issues.

As the new Shapiro administration and General Assembly begin the people’s work, Pennsylvania’s energy industry remains an eager, engaged and solutions-focused partner and resource for our policymakers. After all, access to affordable and reliable energy – in addition to a cleaner environment, a stronger economy and a more secure nation should be goals shared by all.

Thankfully for Pennsylvanians, as America’s second largest natural gas producer, we have the energy resources to drive meaningful progress to this end, all while supporting an energy-starved world. Here at home, natural gas has created a cleaner environment while providing jobs and economic growth – particularly for the middle-class.

But to ensure Pennsylvania is positioned for success for generations to come, we must promote sensible policies and regulations that are competitive and provide predictability in the marketplace. In doing so, we can position the Commonwealth for continued economic growth, expanded job opportunities, and further innovation and entrepreneurship, all while improving the communities in which our industry is proud to live and work.

In furtherance of these outcomes and advancing the development of clean natural gas, earlier this month the U.S. Department of Energy signaled support for efforts to secure federal funding to develop an integrated carbon capture and hydrogen hub right here in Appalachia. Not only would these hubs create jobs and lower industrial- and transportation-related emissions, but they also represent the next generation of energy production, regional manufacturing and other unique growth opportunities for the natural gas industry.

Other examples of the opportunities that natural gas development provides are evidenced across the state in Shell’s petrochemical facility in Beaver County, Nacero’s planned investment in Luzerne County to transform local natural gas into clean transportation fuels, and KeyState’s planned facility that would manufacture hydrogen and ammonia in Clinton County.

However, desperately needed enhancements to Pennsylvania’s energy, economic and environmental policies have held back the Commonwealth from realizing its full economic and environmental potential. Predictable permitting reviews inform capital intensive investment decision-making, particularly for large scale infrastructure projects like pipelines and energy trade projects that are key to helping share our energy abundance with our allies around world.

Permitting challenges – both at the state and federal levels – have unnecessarily created energy transportation bottlenecks that harm consumers as well as our ability to compete in the inter-connected global economy. They also stymie innovation, which is critical to further reducing costs and our environmental footprint, including lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Furthermore, the inability to build new pipeline infrastructure from Appalachia to the northeast, has crippled that region’s ability to quickly respond to extreme weather conditions, driving up costs for consumers while leaving the region desperately scrambling to import foreign sources of natural gas. This should never be the case given our dedicated and talented workforce as well as the proximity to the most prolific and lowest-emissions natural gas-producing basin in the world.

If we want Pennsylvania to lead the way in revitalizing American manufacturing, energy and national security, as well as continuing environmental progress, industry, labor and policymakers must work together. We look forward to working with the incoming administration and our allies in the General Assembly so that Pennsylvanians can realize the full potential that our abundant, clean and home-grown natural resources offer to us all.

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