Pennsylvania is the No. 2 natural gas producer nationwide, trailing only Texas.
A group of business, labor and industrial leaders from the Keystone State are emphasizing that to a native Pennsylvanian now residing on Pennsylvania Avenue.
On Wednesday, on the eve of Earth Day, the leaders sent a letter to President Joe Biden, touting successes of the oil and gas industry in Pennsylvania since 2005, and its role in cutting carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.
They urged the administration to pursue policies favoring responsible natural gas production, building infrastructure, domestic use and liquefied natural gas exports. Economic benefits and global climate commitments are the end goals.
Thursday also was the beginning of the two-day Leaders Summit on Climate, organized and hosted by the president, who invited the leaders of 40 countries.
The missive was sent to White House advisers, cabinet members and Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation.
Members of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association and Pittsburgh Works Together signed the letter to Biden. Those organizations also had a virtual panel discussion Wednesday morning, announcing the submission of the letter and emphasizing their points.
“The Marcellus Shale and natural gas have provided tremendous benefits to the state, country and world,” said David Callahan, president of the shale coalition, a statewide trade association. “Environmental progress has been absolutely outstanding. Natural gas is essential to our energy future in meeting clean energy goals.”
Kevin Sunday, government affairs director for Business and Industry, said “no state has reduced (energy-related emissions) more in recent years.”
Callahan said in his introduction that, since 2005, volatile organic compound emissions have fallen 40% and CO2 emissions 33% in the state.
Buildup of the industry has benefited trades workers, said Tom Melcher, business manager for the trades council.
“Our partnership with the natural gas industry has been tremendous. Apprenticeship programs have been building up and the demand for skilled labor is higher than it’s been in my 40 years in the trades.”
Melcher, who also is co-chair of Pittsburgh Works Together, a business-labor cooperative, added “Western Pennsylvania cannot run on solar panels and wind turbines. We need coal and natural gas and power plants. We’re sitting on a gold mine here.”
David Taylor, president and CEO of the manufacturers association, said during the 35-minute session “we’re grateful for everything we’ve seen from Marcellus Shale since 2005. Development of the shale play has tremendously reduced greenhouse gas emissions. We can uphold prosperity while improving environmental quality.
“Natural gas is a win-win-win – for the environment, the economy and American workers.”