Pennsylvania Business Energy Forum highlights natural gas powered jobs, growth

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On Tuesday, the Marcellus Shale Coalition’s Business Energy Forum highlights the job and economic growth in Northcentral Pennsylvania powered by the natural gas industry.

In partnership with the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce and Pennsylvania College of Technology, the forum, held at the Pennsylvania College of Technology’s campus in Williamsport, focused on the strength of the state’s natural gas sector, as well as its impact on job creation and training, and economic growth.

“Natural gas is the workhorse of Pennsylvania’s economy, generating sustained revenue, jobs, and opportunity across the Commonwealth, including here in Lycoming County. Thanks to partners like the Chamber and with Penn College, we’re proud to advance skills training and better prepare students for local energy careers today and well into the future,” Marcellus Shale Coalition President Dave Callahan said. “As we continue to develop these resources responsibly, commonsense policies that encourage production growth, pipeline expansion, and manufacturing and power generation use will help ensure more Pennsylvanians share in the broad benefits natural gas development.”

In addition to job opportunities, officials said the area’s record natural gas impact fee has generated $279 million this year, with Northcentral Pennsylvania counties and municipalities receiving nearly $50.6 million to support local projects like local park renovations and affordable housing programs.

“The Act 13 Impact Fee is probably the most important piece of legislation for rural Pennsylvania in my lifetime,” Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming County) said. “The Impact Fee not only funds critical projects locally, but also a wide variety of important environmental projects throughout the state. The natural gas industry, along with Penn College, have been great partners in funding important projects in our communities, creating new jobs, and ensuring we have a well-trained, skilled workforce for careers in the energy sector.”

Yaw said natural gas needed to be a part of the state’s diverse energy portfolio.

“Short sighted environmental policies have forced fossil fuel plants into nonexistence, resulting in fewer reliable energy sources to shoulder the burden of increased demand on Pennsylvania’s electrical grid,” Yaw said. “Renewable energy sources, like wind and solar, are intermittent, limited, and dependent on weather, while power plants fueled by natural gas have remained dependable energy producers. There is no carbon-neutral future without natural gas in the present and we need to challenge people to show us any clean or green project that does not depend on fossil fuels.”