May 29, 2017
Rep. Mike Turzai
Pennsylvania has endured structural changes in the bedrock industries of our state's economy.
We suffered mightily with the collapse of the steel industry in the 1980s, and some of our hardest-hit steel towns are still struggling. In fact, the state has shed nearly 300,000 manufacturing jobs over the last 20 years.
However, we have the opportunity to spur economic growth and prosperity for generations to come, and it's right under our feet.
Energy development and pipeline infrastructure can empower us to compete and win in the 21st century. This will lead to a resurgence in manufacturing. Natural gas can fuel our manufacturing facilities, and its byproducts can be used in a variety of American-made products.
Constructing these facilities will require significant work from our outstanding trades workforce.
It is estimated that nearly one-third of Marcellus wells drilled to date are still waiting on pipelines to move their gas to market. We need to increase our energy infrastructure capacity to move our abundant local natural gas supplies to consumers and industry.
In recent years, the energy industry has been working with governments at all levels and landowners to build the infrastructure we need to get the product to market and, most importantly, put our people back to work.
But increasingly burdensome regulatory steps have stifled infrastructure build-out and stymied the economic growth potential natural gas has to offer.
One of the largest proposed pipeline projects is the nearly $3 billion Atlantic Sunrise project, designed to immediately address pipeline bottlenecks by adding close to 2 billion cubic feet of pipeline takeaway capacity.
This project is a tremendous opportunity for Pennsylvania to show that we are not an obstructionist state for American energy and job creation.
Expected to support 8,000 jobs, Atlantic Sunrise will transport Pennsylvania gas to existing pipelines and power the mid-Atlantic. It is estimated that enough natural gas will be transported to meet the energy needs of 7 million American homes.
After nearly three years of intense regulatory scrutiny, this project won federal approval earlier this year.
There is not a single reason for our own state government to further delay approvals and stand in the way of economic growth and jobs.
Based on tax revenue generation alone, the Wolf administration should support construction of the pipeline.
Construction activities are expected to generate about $16.9 million in additional state taxes and total payroll will be about $501.6 million during the construction phase alone.
Pennsylvanians will benefit from Atlantic Sunrise's approval, which will span 10 counties from Susquehanna down through Lancaster.
An economic impact analysis conducted by researchers with Penn State University estimates 2,300 people will be employed in those counties during the one-year construction phase, which will support an additional 6,000 indirect jobs in supporting industries. It is estimated this will increase economic activity by $1.6 billion in the project area.
We have a president in Washington who is committed to the production of American sources of energy and to keeping manufacturing within our borders.
Pennsylvania is poised, perhaps unlike at any other time in recent memory, to benefit in every way -- new jobs, better wages, reduced energy costs, increased tax revenue and economic prosperity for generations to come.
Pennsylvania state government needs to shed its reputation for standing in the way of energy independence and economic prosperity.
The Atlantic Sunrise project has already been scrutinized for three years and given federal approval. Pennsylvania needs to follow suit and let progress and prosperity flow through the pipeline.
State Rep. Mike Turzai, a Republican, represents the Allegheny County-based 28th House District. He is speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.