Keep Pennsylvania’s foot on the (natural) gas

Jeff Kotula, president of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce, recently authored an Op-Ed in the Observer-Reporter detailing the economic benefits from Southwestern Pennsylvania’s abundant natural resources. In the piece, Kotula highlights increased investment, economic growth, and revitalization as a result of the natural gas revolution. As a result, the businesses in Washington County are thriving and in a position for continual success in the future.

In Kotula’s piece, he highlights the importance of pipeline infrastructure and energy production, and its impact on The Greater Pittsburgh and Washington County’s local economy. Kotula writes, “Private sector business investment has created thousands of sustainable jobs in our area and millions of dollars in tax revenue for our local school districts, local governments, and our state. The advantages created by the energy industry have benefitted communities across our region.” Kotula also notes, “Washington County has proven to be a model for what can be accomplished when government, industry, and labor work together toward a common goal.”

Collaboration between government, industry, and labor has solidified Pennsylvania as a national leader in energy production. The Keystone State is one of six states that account for over half of the United States’ energy production. Specifically for natural gas, Pennsylvania produces more than 20 percent of the country’s total production, second only to Texas.

Though this is progress worth celebrating, Kotula warns actions taken by the Biden administration threaten to stall Pennsylvania’s energy progress. He notes, “Decisions like canceling the Keystone XL pipeline and raising fees on energy producers are misguided energy policies that negatively impact jobs, the economy, and our energy security. Recently there have been some signs that the Biden Administration is recognizing the importance of the natural gas industry to our national and international security, especially with the recent announcement that it is starting to again sell leases to drill for oil and gas on federal lands.”

While more than 269,000 jobs exist within the commonwealth’s energy sector, Pennsylvania and Washington County, have a lot to lose if restricting energy policies succeed. Washington County is a proven model for when government, industry and labor work together to ensure Pennsylvania remains a leader in supplying the U.S. and local communities with reliable, affordable and clean energy.