Energy. For many of us, it’s not something that is at the forefront of our minds. We are fortunate to live in a region of the country where the supply of energy is abundant. We don’t have to worry about where our electricity comes from. We know that when we flip the switch, the light will turn on. We can control the temperature of our home as the weather changes. We have the power to keep our food cold when needed, and to cook it in a controlled setting. We use energy every day in most aspects of our lives.
The need for energy in our everyday lives necessitates a reliable energy source. Pennsylvania is fortunate to be home to a diverse energy portfolio. A large portion of that portfolio is made up of natural gas, which our state is lucky to have in abundance.
Natural gas is a driving force of the Commonwealth’s energy sector and economy. According to data from the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA), natural gas is the largest source of in-state electricity generation, and it is the primary home heating fuel for over half of Pennsylvania households. We are one of the highest gas producing states in the country, second only to Texas. The development of the Marcellus Shale has cemented Pennsylvania’s role as both a national and international energy leader.
The expansion of the natural gas industry over the past decade has had an enormous economic impact, and it was a key driver of the post COVID-19 pandemic economic recovery for the Commonwealth. The industry has helped to create a positive ripple effect, bringing life to other sectors and creating new opportunities. Speaking of opportunity, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania's No. 1 County in production of natural gas, is seeing a wonderful renaissance. Employment with family-sustaining income, reversal of brain-drain and new life being breathed into the farms that are central to our rural DNA. The “American Dream” is alive and well in Susquehanna County!
Research has shown that for every direct natural gas and oil industry job in the state, 3.6 additional indirect and downstream jobs have been created in the state. According to recent data, more than 100,000 direct industry jobs have been created. Additionally, the industry has supported over 400,000 jobs for Pennsylvanians. These are good jobs that have brought an influx of opportunity and economic activity to local communities throughout the state. In fact, these jobs represent more than $40 billion in wages and the industry activity has resulted in nearly $75 billion in economic impact.
Additionally, the industry pays an impact tax. The revenues from this Pennsylvania-specific tax go toward important environmental programs throughout the state and directly benefit every county and a multitude of local municipalities. Local governments have used these dollars to fund a myriad of projects, including critical infrastructure projects, community parks and rails to trails, safe and affordable housing, and new equipment for first responders and fire departments. Every county, regardless of whether it is home to natural gas drilling or not, receives these discretionary funds to help improve local areas.
Natural gas is benefiting residents across the Commonwealth in other ways as well. As noted above, more than half of Pennsylvania households use natural gas to heat their homes. Natural gas has shown itself to be a more affordable energy source, with residents of natural gas homes experiencing lower energy prices – especially in the winter – than those that rely on other heating sources.
Our prolific natural gas reserves are also benefiting neighboring states in our region. Because we are a net exporter, residents in other states can realize the affordability and reliability of natural gas.
Natural gas also helps bring stability to our energy grid. At 48, Pennsylvania has more underground storage sites than any other state. According to the EIA, these sites help meet regional heating demand during the winter.
The benefits of natural gas are plentiful. The industry is an economic driver for our state, creating hundreds of thousands of direct and indirect jobs and infusing significant revenues into local communities. It’s also providing a steady and reliable stream of funding to local governments. Commercial and residential users have realized the cost savings and reliability that comes with natural gas usage, as well.
The bottom line is this: Natural gas is a win for Pennsylvania.
Representative Jonathan Fritz
111th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Melissa Fox
RepFritz.com / Facebook.com/RepFritz