At PEIA member Consumer Energy Alliance’s (CEA) first Energy and Manufacturing Forum this week, featured speakers discussed the need for expanded energy infrastructure and urged for Pennsylvania’s leadership to have a neutral discussion on the state’s energy future.
The forum featured U.S. Senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey as speakers, as well as Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. During the roundtable discussion, they each spoke separately about their ideas for the future of America’s energy economy.
Sen. Casey strongly believes that energy is a vital part of this region, and as the region reinvents the future, wages and economic security are a critical priority. He began the forum discussing how there needs to be a balanced discussion on energy because “advanced manufacturing and energy production are critical to this region.” He added, “We need to bring together business and labor to find good compromises.” He also noted that Pennsylvania has seen tremendous job growth due to natural gas production.
Sen. Toomey advised that natural gas production has the opportunity to “attract thousands of jobs and will bring other industries to this region.” He also stated, “We need to make sure we don’t do anything foolish that would hinder natural gas production. The development of natural gas clearly outweighs the infrastructure that we currently have to transport it. We need to support efforts to change this.”
Lastly, Fitzgerald reiterated “we all need to work together to maximize the opportunities that are before us.” He spoke about how the schools in Allegheny are teaching night classes on welding to help local citizens better their lives and help in the expansion of energy infrastructure. He thinks it is time to show the benefits natural gas investments can bring local residents and communities. He finished his time speaking by stating, “We need to clearly convey just how many benefits exist for everyone. We need to get everyone together.”
Overall, the forum was an important opportunity for federal, state and local leaders to discuss current energy issues. PEIA looks forward to CEA’s additional forums as we support the discussion of energy development in Pennsylvania. Educating those around us on the safety and need for energy infrastructure is the key to a better way of life for Pennsylvanians.