Marcellus Shale: The Great Debate

Energy & Resources

By Theodore Pettko

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has issued its Annual Energy Outlook 2011, which projects the growing importance of natural gas from domestic shale gas resources in meeting the U.S. energy demand and lowering natural gas prices. Living in this region, you have likely already heard a lot about the Marcellus Shale development. Much of the discussion involves whether to drill or not. Certainly, safety should be the first concern. However, for this region to really benefit from Marcellus Shale, we must focus on ways to use this resource in Pennsylvania, rather than simply drilling and exporting it to other regions.

We should focus on recruiting companies that use or can use natural gas in their operations or productions. Landing these types of companies will create job opportunities that stay here in Pennsylvania. Taxpaying companies and jobs – isn’t this what we want and need? Part of Pennsylvania’s problem is its declining population, which translates into fewer people obligated to fund the fixed costs of government, which translates to higher taxes. How many times have we heard, “They couldn’t find a job in this area, so they went to (fill in the blank) for a job”? We need people and opportunities. Here is our chance to stop the people migration.

Let’s use this resource to attract companies that will provide jobs and increase population beyond the drillers. It’s kind of like the “build it and they will come” philosophy; however, this resource has already been built. If we continue to focus only on exporting, we will never capitalize on this golden opportunity.

For more information, please contact Ted Pettko at (412) 697-5334 or tpettko@schneiderdowns.com.

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