Industry touts Marcellus advantage


Representatives of three industry trade organizations told a packed Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce breakfast Thursday that they needed to be prepared to do battle with those forces which might attempt to slow down Marcellus shale development in the region.

David Taylor, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association said that most of the folks assembled at Stonehedge in Tunkhannock “get the message” about how development of the Marcellus shale play has been positive on the region.

He said he grew up in Huntingdon and the terrain is not all that different from Tunkhannock except “places around here now have a fresh coat of paint.”

He noted that while technologies have changed, the role of energy resources in driving economic growth has been a constant.

With Pennsylvania emerging as the second largest producer of natural gas to Texas, “I don’t need to tell you about the transformative quality of what you have here,” Taylor said.

But he and Gene Barr, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, said that part of the trade groups’ responsibility “is to minimize what folks in Harrisburg might want to do to hold development back.”

While he said he was in favor of some people’s attempt to get Amazon to locate a distribution center in the Commonwealth, Barr added, “What you have here is the equivalent of more than two such Amazons. It’s called the Marcellus gas industry.”

He cautioned those who might attempt to halt development by saying the state is the only one in the nation without a severance tax.

“What about the state-imposed Impact Fee?” Barr asked.

It was a point echoed by Tom Pyle, who served on Pres.-Elect Donald Trump’s energy transition team and is now President of the American Energy Alliance & Institute for Energy Research.

He noted that the president was pursuing a policy of energy dominance, and not just for bragging rights.

“We have a demand opportunity we shouldn’t ever want to miss,” Pyle said.

Wyoming County Commissioner Tom Henry said he valued the three speakers’ perspective and underscored that later in the day he had been notified that his county would be receiving $1.03 million in impact fee revenue, more than the previous year.

“That creates opportunities all the way around,” he said.

Tim McMullen with PNC Wealth Management in Scranton said he found the discussion informative. “It made me more aware about Northeast Pennsyvania’s contributing role in the energy renaissance of America.”

Bill Kelley, head of Taylor Rental BX3 Oil Supply in Tunkhannock, questioned the panel about why people such as themselves aren’t talking about limited opportunities to send Marcellus gas to New England.

Barr said that New York’s moratorium against fracking and pipelines is choking off the movement of gas, clear and simple, and people should be concerned.

The event was open to regional chamber organizations, and sponsored by Cabot Oil & Gas with Bill desRosiers serving as moderator.