Sunday, April 23, 2017

Op-Ed: Why Yes, Natural Gas Drilling Can Be Done Responsibly

By David Spigelmyer, Marcellus Shale Coalition

Over the past decade, America's energy outlook has transformed in ways few could have ever projected.
Thanks to continuous technological advancements along with a lot of hard work, the United States is now the world's top oil and natural gas producer - putting our nation in a position to meet our energy demands while boosting our role in the global energy economy.
Our shale energy revolution is strengthening Pennsylvania, too. As a natural gas leader, the Commonwealth is in the early stages of realizing the full economic and manufacturing opportunity tied to affordable energy.
Beyond the clear economic and national security benefits of this game-changing revolution, shale development also has enabled the United States to lead the world in carbon emission reductions.
With Earth Day upon us, it's an important opportunity to take stock in the meaningful environmental progress that our nation and the Commonwealth continue to enjoy - especially as it relates to air quality.
By transitioning to clean, domestic natural gas, America's carbon emissions have plummeted to levels not seen in decades.
In fact, the International Energy Agency reported last month that with the "surge in shale gas," U.S. carbon emissions are falling even as America's economy grows - which demonstrates that we can have clean air, affordable energy and good jobs.
And it's not just carbon emissions that are falling alongside significant increases in natural gas production -- methane, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and asthma-causing particulate matter are all dramatically declining as more clean natural gas is used to power our economy.
Natural gas is also a critical partner for intermittent energy forms like wind and solar sources, that require a reliable base load fuel as back-up.
A 2016 Harvard Business School study highlighted the "complementary" relationship between shale and renewables given that "natural gas is the only fuel that can cost-effectively deliver large-scale carbon emissions reductions over the next 20 years."
It's not just our air quality that's improving with natural gas - Pennsylvania's overall environment is benefitting as well.
The Commonwealth's unique natural gas impact tax has generated more than $1 billion over the last five years, providing critical funding directly for community programs and key statewide environmental initiatives.
Specifically, natural gas impact tax revenues have funded acid mine drainage treatment, stream and waterway restorations, new outdoor trails, and improvements to community parks throughout the Commonwealth, to name a few.
As we safely produce more domestic natural gas to meet our growing energy demands, we're becoming a more energy secure nation, as well.
There is little doubt that the U.S. has some of the world's most rigorous environmental regulations. States like Pennsylvania are leading the way - with support from the energy industry - to make certain that commonsense, workable regulations are in place to protect and enhance our environment for generations to come.
We're in the early stages of fully realizing the widespread benefits of America's energy revolution.
Let's focus on policies - at the state and federal level - that encourage natural gas production, transmission, and use so we can continue to enhance our environment while providing more economic opportunities for all Pennsylvanians.
David Spigelmyer is president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition
Op-Ed: Why Yes, Natural Gas Drilling Can Be Done Responsibly, Marcellus Shale Coalition

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