Gov. Josh Shapiro recently touted an “open for business” outlook and promised to cooperate with the private sector, beginning right here in the Pittsburgh region, to breathe new life into the state’s economy.
Energy, robotics, healthcare, tech: Pennsylvania is on the cusp of a new industrial renaissance that’ll help move the United States into the next generation.
As the saying goes, “a rising tide lifts all boats,” and for the Commonwealth and greater Appalachian region, natural gas is the tide that keeps rising to improve our quality of life.
Access to affordable and clean energy underpins economic prosperity. Providing roughly 20% of America’s total natural gas production, Pennsylvania is a top contributor to the low-cost, reliable, and clean energy that forms a building block of modern society.
Manufacturers, business groups, skilled laborers, and conservationists alike are looking for ways to lessen their environmental footprint without sacrificing the blue-collar way of life that’s the heart and soul of Western Pennsylvania.
Natural gas is the catalyst to achieving those goals, and we’re blessed to have it in abundance right here in our backyard. From reliably powering homes, hospitals, schools, and businesses to serving as a clean and low-cost feedstock for manufacturing and industrial processes, natural gas powers it all.
We’ve seen the benefits of natural gas extend far beyond the well pad and pipeline infrastructure that drive our economy. These multimillion-dollar capital investments are critical to Main Street Pennsylvania, helping to keep countless mom-and-pop businesses vibrant.
Additionally, liquefied natural gas (LNG) from America has been Europe’s saving grace amid extreme weather and a Russian war of aggression that’s weaponized Moscow’s energy supply.
What we need from elected officials is predictability in the marketplace so that companies looking to invest here can count on projects coming to fruition – and continuing to deliver the benefits we have seen over the past fifteen years.
While the governor has made some encouraging moves, more regulatory certainty is needed to overcome the barriers that have restricted the natural gas industry from reaching its full potential for far too long.
Severe bottlenecks for even the most basic permits hold back production and limit the ability to respond as energy demand fluctuates. An inconsistent permitting process causes misalignment across operating areas in the Commonwealth; some regional offices take more than a year to make key permit determinations, while others need only a few months.
Consistent review timelines are essential for operators to budget appropriately and realize operational efficiencies across all industries, but even more so for energy projects.
Consider the pipeline woes that have made our region among the most energy-constrained, despite being one of the world’s largest basins for reserves. Politically motivated lawsuits designed to clog review processes have thwarted the development of essential infrastructure that could safely transport gas from production points to areas that desperately need it.
It’s these types of barriers that we must overcome to truly unlock Pennsylvania’s potential.
As Gov. Shapiro officially sets the tone of his administration’s agenda today, he should know that Pennsylvania’s natural gas industry stands ready to work with him to advance our shared goals: new business development, family-sustaining job creation, and more affordable energy – all while protecting and enhancing our environment.