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Guest view: Why the energy industry in Pennsylvania has no time to lose

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As president of the Pennsylvania Chemical Industry Council, I have been closely following the accelerating pulse of energy development in the state and beyond for many years.

It’s an exciting time to be involved in the industry. Energy development is on the cusp of flourishing; essential infrastructure projects are receiving necessary regulatory approvals; and increasing labor needs are heightening the demand for advanced workforce training. Take, for example, Williams’ Atlantic Sunrise project, which recently received a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). This approval brings the company one step closer to building infrastructure that will expand the Transco natural gas pipeline and connect Marcellus Shale gas supplies with markets in the mid-Atlantic and beyond – including chemical manufacturers.

This is significant news for the entire state: The approximately $3 billion project is expected to create about 8,000 jobs and generate $1.6 billion in economic impact for the project area.

Atlantic Sunrise’s next step toward construction goes hand in hand with another economic powerhouse’s progress: the Rover Pipeline, which recently earned FERC’s approval to transport Marcellus and Utica shale natural gas from Ohio to needed markets. This project, estimated to hire 10,000 construction workers and create future incentive for business investment opportunities, will be an economic game-changer for the communities it touches.

And these aren’t the only multibillion-dollar Pennsylvania pipeline projects making progress. Recently, Sunoco Logistics’ Mariner East 2 pipeline received the required permits from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), allowing the company to move forward with developing infrastructure that will greatly expand capacity to move natural gas liquids from the Marcellus and Utica shale regions to its Marcus Hook facility in southeast Pennsylvania.

In other exciting industry news, UGI Energy Services’ PennEast Pipeline Co. received approval on a water quality certification from the state DEP, moving the company closer to constructing a pipeline that will provide reliable and cost-efficient energy.

Change is evident. The industry is not stagnant – in fact, massive economic development projects such as these promise to spur growth and keep Pennsylvania at the forefront of a wave of innovation and economic opportunity. What is transpiring in Pennsylvania is truly a game-changing occurrence.

These projects don’t just affect those working in the industry. They touch you, your home and your community. Consider just how many uses natural gas has in our everyday lives: heating homes, cooking food, generating electricity, fueling cars and providing the necessary chemical and manufacturing building blocks of our consumer lives. We need these energy resources – and with these infrastructure projects, we will have access to more affordable, clean American energy than ever before.

These four transformational energy infrastructure projects total more than $10 billion in private investment and will support more than 30,000 construction jobs.

If you want to see opportunities such as these come to life in Pennsylvania, I encourage you to voice your support for energy infrastructure projects to the governor and your representatives in Washington, D.C., and Harrisburg. For those in positions of power within the federal and state government, I urge you to continue working to advance projects like Mariner East 2, Rover, PennEast and Atlantic Sunrise in a timely manner. Pennsylvania’s rich natural resource supply has an abundance to offer those in the commonwealth – it’s time to build.

Jeffrey Logan is president of the Pennsylvania Chemical Industry Council.

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