Promoting businesses, large and small, is the focus of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce. With more than 1,100 businesses that employ nearly 23,000 people in the Energy Capital of the East, the Washington County Chamber of Commerce has grown into the largest business association in Washington County and the second largest Chamber of Commerce in southwestern Pennsylvania. We are excited about our county’s economic growth and are working to ensure that growth continues.
From businesses directly involved in the energy industry to those benefitting indirectly, our members will tell you that energy development has been a key driver of this growth. In fact, at the annual Washington County Economic Update in March, we unveiled an economic study our chamber did in conjunction with Dr. Yongsheng Wang, an associate professor of economics at Washington & Jefferson College, and the Marcellus Shale Coalition. The study found, between 2011 and 2013, the shale industry was responsible for contributing between 15 and 20 percent of the county’s total economic output.
At the same economic update, Washington County Commissioner Larry Maggi also stated that the energy sector was responsible for creating 1,762 jobs in the county last year, which led all eight counties in the region in that category, as tracked by the state Department of Labor & Industry. He also noted that the county attracted 111 economic development projects and $1.4 billion in capital investment last year.
Our organization has served the community of Washington County since 1911 and our members have seen countless opportunities to create a better environment for business to thrive. As the epicenter of the world’s largest natural gas reserve in the world, we are playing an important role in powering our state’s growth and strengthening our nation’s energy independence. With the energy opportunity available to us, we have the challenge and responsibility of harnessing all of the benefits before us safely and responsibly. The infrastructure needed to transport these energy resources is essential to our country’s economic future.
Projects like the Mariner East natural gas liquids project are a real and present example of the opportunity before us and the role members of our community must play in supporting it. This $3 billion underground natural gas liquids pipeline project will connect energy development in and around western Pennsylvania to the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex in southeastern Pennsylvania and estimates show it could support more than 30,000 jobs during construction and approximately 300-400 permanent jobs. The benefits that projects like this will bring to southwestern Pennsylvania are why the Washington County Chamber of Commerce is proud to be an anchor member of the Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance.