HARRISBURG, Pa. — Members of the Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance (PEIA), a broad-based coalition of labor, agriculture, manufacturing and other business interests that support private investment in pipeline and other energy infrastructure developments, today sent a letter to the state Department of Environmental Protection and the newly formed Pipeline Infrastructure Taskforce, which convened its first meeting to begin recommending policies, guidelines and best practices to guide the buildout of pipeline infrastructure in Pennsylvania. The group’s report is due to Gov. Tom Wolf by February 2016.
PEIA was founded June 8 by the Washington County Chamber of Commerce, Delaware County Chamber of Commerce, the Laborers International Union of North America (LiUNA!) and the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 66. Other PEIA members include the Pennsylvania State Grange, the oldest agricultural and rural advocacy organization of its kind in the United States, and two other regional economic development groups, JARI and the Mon Valley Progress Council.
The full text of the letter follows:
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Dear Members of the Pipeline Infrastructure Taskforce:
As an organization that supports investment on energy infrastructure projects in Pennsylvania, we congratulate you on being selected to serve on Governor Wolf’s Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force and support the important work ahead of you to help our state realize its full energy potential and the benefits that come with it.
The Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance (PEIA) is a broad-based coalition that supports timely approval for critical energy infrastructure in the Commonwealth because these projects serve the best interest of Pennsylvanians, our communities and the nation. Pipeline projects provide many direct and indirect economic benefits, including tens of thousands of construction jobs, millions in annual estimated tax revenue locally and statewide, and recurring benefits to manufacturing and other industries that rely on affordable and reliable energy supplies and petrochemicals.
Pennsylvania is now the second-ranking state in natural gas and natural gas liquids production, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. However, our state only has about 4 percent of the pipelines to move products to market at a time when demand is on the rise. A Harvard Business School report released in June titled “America’s Unconventional Energy Opportunity” found that “Low-cost natural gas feedstocks have made the U.S. competitive in petrochemicals, plastics, and inorganic chemicals, where $138 billion in new U.S.-based investments has been announced.”
Two studies released just this month demonstrate how our state is uniquely positioned for energy growth — if we have the gas pipeline delivery system and other energy infrastructure in place to meet this growing demand. A study released by the Utica Shale Appalachian Basin Exploration Consortium reveals that Utica Shale holds 20 times more gas than previously thought. A separate report by SNL Energy shows that natural gas has surpassed coal and is now the top source of electric generation in the U.S.
There is growing local and national awareness of Pennsylvania’s critical energy infrastructure needs. Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter’s Manufacturing Task Force released a 2013 report of recommendations to help make the Greater Philadelphia region a better place for manufacturing.
The report recommended an increase in the supply of natural gas and natural gas liquids available to manufacturers in the city and region by increasing pipeline capacity, which will help provide a strong competitive advantage to the chemical and petrochemical clusters. Additionally, this past April, Pennsylvania was chosen as the site for Vice President Biden’s April release of the inaugural Quadrennial Energy Review (QER) report, which calls for as much as $3.5 billion of annual investment in interstate pipelines through 2030 to sustain long-term domestic energy production.
From the heads of local chambers of commerce, to labor organizations, to the agricultural community, , and others, our coalition represents a broad range of interests and industries united in support of pipelines as an indispensable component of the state’s economic future. Through our various roles in our own communities, we have seen first-hand the direct and indirect benefits of pipeline projects. We bring that important perspective as we work to highlight how private investment in energy infrastructure can strengthen the state’s economy, create jobs, and improve public safety when projects are properly designed, built and maintained.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, pipelines outperform all other types of infrastructure in safety, efficiency, reliability, environmental stewardship, and cost. Pipelines offer communities across the state the infrastructure solution to maximize the economic opportunities in energy with the least amount of burden.
The hiring the local labor force to build large infrastructure projects must also be part of our state’s approach to ensure that the economic benefits of energy development are invested back in the state and local communities. These skilled laborers will make safety a top priority because they are highly trained and happen to care about their communities, too.
As you conduct sessions with workgroup members and other stakeholders on the various focus areas, and prepare for monthly task force meetings, the members of our coalition would like to avail ourselves as a resource. We offer additional expertise and local perspectives to inform your recommendations and help identify best practices for the task force’s report to the governor.
We look forward to working with you to ensure our state is prepared to sustain this energy growth for the long-term.
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The Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance supports investments to modernize energy infrastructure to ensure reliable access to low-cost energy to power our local economy and ensure the utmost safety and health of our communities. As the safest mode to transport energy, we believe that investing in new and existing pipelines will benefit our communities through new job opportunities, new industries, and new access to affordable energy over the long-term. Learn more at: www.paallianceforenergy.com.
Contact: [email protected]
(717) 571- 5687