Anti-LNG groups fail to realize local benefits and global implications

Earlier last week, environmentalist groups rallied outside the Pennsylvania Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Task Force’s third and final public hearing in Chester, Pa., claiming they had been left out of the process. Later, they went on to testify at the hearing — and that isn’t the first contradiction the groups have made. It certainly won’t be the last.

A particularly popular press pull-quote from a prominent opponent who testified at the event was: “We suffer for everybody else’s comfort.” The considerable local investments that would be part of this construction and the stringent regulatory requirements needed to build anything of this scale make the statement patently untrue. Moreover, within the United States alone, the ongoing shift from coal-fired to gas-fired power plants has brought about a more significant decline in carbon emissions than all the renewable power capacity throughout our country’s history.

An LNG export terminal in Philadelphia is a real and tangible way to further decarbonization efforts domestically and overseas, create thousands of good-paying union jobs, reduce global reliance on Russia and the Middle East, and generate hundreds of millions of dollars in in federal, state and local tax revenue.

According to Carl Marrara, executive director of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association, the four-year construction of the facility would support 28,249 direct, indirect and induced jobs and generate $527 million in federal, state and local tax revenue. Additionally, after the build-out is complete, the facility would support 514 permanent jobs and 1,280 indirect jobs. Ongoing operations would generate $52 million in tax revenue to the state, $85 million to the federal government, and $47 million to county and local coffers.

Marrara also spoke to the geopolitical ramifications of the proposed terminal, stating that “We can help supply the world, especially our overseas allies as they seek to disentangle themselves from foreign adversaries such as Russia and Saudi Arabia,”

“Talks of an LNG facility in or near Philadelphia have been in the works for years,” said Paul Mullen, Business Manager and Financial Secretary for IBEW Local 654. “But recently, world events, Pennsylvania’s resource-rich environment, and the plethora of energy infrastructure we have in our region have made the potential that something finally gets done much greater than ever before. This report is the blueprint for how we may be able to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Ultimately, no decision has been made on where the terminal will be located. The bipartisan task force, which was approved by Republicans and Democrats alike in the state legislature and enacted by former Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, is merely a fact-finding effort. So, let’s stick to the facts! A final report and recommendations are expected to be passed on to the General Assembly in November. It is crucial that lawmakers consider the true domestic and global outcomes of their decision and not solely the desires of the few who say they want to change the world while thwarting genuine efforts to do so.