Western Pa. leaders highlight importance of natural gas industry in letter to Trump, Biden

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Board of Commissioners leadership from Butler, Washington, and Beaver counties sent correspondence Wednesday to President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden to highlight the importance of natural gas for the region and the country.

The leadership from all three counties particularly urged the presidential candidates to recognize a strong natural gas industry as common ground for the good of the country, not a partisan issue.

“Here in Western Pennsylvania, across so many cities and towns where the community’s fabric was shaped by industries that built America, our shared values transcend partisan affiliation,” the letter stated. “We want to see a level playing field set for people and businesses to succeed. We support policies that encourage smart investment in communities.”

The letter stated that for the past 10 years, a revitalized natural gas and oil industry around the shale running below the region has generated the type of business investments needed to reinvigorate Western Pennsylvania’s Main Streets and manufacturing sectors. The taxes on natural gas production, including $2 billion collected in impact fees, support environmental programs, trail building, infrastructure improvements, and conservation projects in all 67 Pennsylvania counties.

The county leaders wrote that it has also brought more family-sustaining local jobs and tax revenue to communities across the Commonwealth.

“Trade unions facing the prospect of their halls being emptied by demand for skilled labor have built modern training centers to supply a new generation of workers,” the letter noted.

Additionally, the letter highlighted that a renewed shale industry has reduced energy costs for individual households and businesses, which has attracted manufacturers and related businesses to invest billions of dollars in state-of-the-art natural gas power plants, petrochemical projects, and other industries.

The Western Pennsylvania region has also been able to meet climate goals years before expected, the leaders wrote, due to the clean air benefits realized by natural gas-fired plants, creating the “backbone of a sustainable energy grid.”

“During this critical moment for our nation,” the leaders concluded, “we ask that you don’t lose sight of the broad, bipartisan support we have here for domestic energy production, the life-changing benefits it’s brought to our communities, and the bright future we’ve charted through policies aimed at attracting more investment.”