An Open Letter to President on Shale Energy
Dear Mr. President,
We are reaching out to you as a group of trade organizations that collectively represent the largest natural gas producing region in the country. Our operational footprint is comprised of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Virginia. Our member-companies employ hundreds of thousands directly and indirectly and contribute billions to our region’s economy.
Our goal is to work with you and your Administration to provide the critical feedstock necessary to create jobs, rebuild our economy, power and heat our homes, and provide the petrochemical building blocks necessary for manufacturing virtually all of the products Americans rely on daily. In the process, we commit to continuing to operate in an environmentally responsible fashion while significantly contributing to the reduction of the American economy’s carbon footprint.
We recognize and appreciate your commitment to addressing global climate change and our industry’s commitment to reducing our environmental footprint is equally as strong. The continued growth in the use of natural gas nationally has led to the 30-year low in total energy-related CO2 emissions the country is experiencing.
We have significant concerns as to how your plans will impact the hundreds of thousands of Americans that work in, rely on, or benefit from the Appalachian shale energy industry. Even more alarming may be the harm we believe measures you have already taken, and are contemplating, may ultimately and negatively exact on all Americans and our position in the global economy.
Implementing policies that hinder natural gas and oil development will result in far more than the decline of another industry and the millions of paychecks it provides nationally. These policies will negatively impact the quality of life of all Americans and reverse the significant geopolitical benefits of being the world’s top energy producer.
As you work to implement your agenda, we ask that you consider the vital role our energy-producing states play in meeting the demand for affordable electricity and consumer products and the impact some policies would have on the hard-working men and women our thousands of member-companies employ.
Natural gas generates nearly 40 percent of the electricity powering this county, providing safe, clean, reliable baseload power to all energy consumers.
The development of our assets right here in Appalachia has led to the United States’ transition from a net importer to a net exporter of natural gas. The continued reduced reliance on foreign sources of energy better positions our country to play a key role in reducing emissions globally.
Along with heat and power generation, natural gas is a critical feedstock for manufacturing. In Pennsylvania alone, the construction of an ethane cracker facility is currently underway, supporting over 6,000 on-site construction jobs. Once operational, the facility will produce feedstock to produce plastic and chemical components that makeup almost every product Americans use such as phones, personal protective equipment, and home goods.
It is critical that we preserve and expand our region’s and the nation’s pipeline infrastructure so we can maximize the benefits of our gas, oil, and liquids production for all Americans. These projects not only transport these resources safely and reliably to processing facilities and new markets but are massive job creators as well.
As the nation and the world responds to the COVID-19 global pandemic, natural gas and related by-products have been integral to the production of medical equipment, medications and newly emerging vaccines that are helping to save the lives of tens of thousands of our fellow citizens.
You have specifically pointed to the benefits of the domestic manufacturing of solar panels and wind turbines for the transition to a cleaner energy future. This cannot be accomplished without the enormous amounts of petrochemicals the natural gas and oil industry produce.
These petrochemicals are the foundational components to the construction of wind turbines and solar panels. Their construction cannot be done in a globally competitive market without the low-cost fuel source natural gas offers to those manufacturers.
The growth in natural gas usage is helping to meet the nation’s carbon reduction objectives while also supplying the on-demand power requirements to scale up wind and solar energy.
We respectfully ask that you recognize and consider the vital role of the Appalachian and U.S. shale energy industries as your Administration crafts energy, climate, and economic policy. With your help, we commit to work with you to accomplish our shared objective of mitigating the harmful effects of global climate change in a responsible and strategic fashion.
The authors are presidents or executive directors of the following organizations: David Callahan, Marcellus Shale Coalition; Dan Weaver, Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association; Matthew Hammond, Ohio Oil & Gas Association; Charlie Burd, Gas & Oil Association of West Virginia; Ryan Watts, Kentucky Oil & Gas Association; and Lawton Mullins, Virginia Oil & Gas Association.