“Nothing has come close to the positive impact Marcellus Shale has had on our local economy.” That’s what Vince Matteo, President & CEO of the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce and Dennis Martire, Vice President and Mid-Atlantic Regional Manager of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, wrote in May.
The economic benefits should continue unabated since, according to the Energy Information Administration, natural gas production hit a new milestone in July:
Natural gas production in the Marcellus Region exceeded 15 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) through July, the first time ever recorded, according to EIA’s latest Drilling Productivity Report. The Marcellus Region, mostly located in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, is the largest producing shale gas basin in the United States, accounting for almost 40% of U.S. shale gas production. Marcellus Region production has increased dramatically over the past four years, increasing from 2 Bcf/d in 2010 to its current level.
Bloomberg reports, “Marcellus gas accounts for about 16 percent of gross U.S. production, up from 2 percent in 2008.”
Companies working the Marcellus Shale plan to hire 2,000 more people this year. Matteo and Martire write, this has brought hope to their area:
Our neighbors’ entrepreneurial spirit has seen a resurgence. For the first time in recent memory, young people have a real opportunity to stay here and many who left the region — or the country — to find work have returned home because good-paying, family-sustaining jobs are now available again.
Jobs ranging from all educational levels are being created across a growing and robust supply chain, with many paying salaries twice that of the statewide average.
The economic benefits from natural gas development have spread across Pennsylvania, as the Manhattan Institute’s Mark Mills writes:
The Marcellus shale fields in Pennsylvania were responsible for enabling statewide double-digit job growth in 2010 and 2011 and now account for more than one-fifth of that state’s manufacturing jobs. For every $1 that the Marcellus industry spends in the state, $1.90 of total economic output is generated.
At the same time, Duke University researchers concluded that natural gas development via hydraulic fracturing has been a plus for local Pennsylvania governments.
Responsible development of Marcellus Shale natural gas is creating jobs and improving peoples’ lives. If federal regulators refrain from slapping duplicative regulations on hydraulic fracturing, these communities will continue reaping the benefits.
[H/t Mark Perry]
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