Energy, manufacturing essential for growth
At a time when our world is experiencing an unprecedented level of economic uncertainty, it’s concerning to read that some want to undermine the advantages of Pennsylvania-produced natural gas and dismiss the importance of the hard-working union men and women who provide these opportunities for the region (“Chemical buildout won’t lead to ‘jobs boom,’ governors told,” June 16 edition).
Former state Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger and others supporting this position are wrong. Energy and manufacturing have been a blessing for Western Pennsylvania, providing quintessential, family-supporting jobs while maintaining affordable energy prices and consumer products.
Imagine how communities would have responded to rising COVID-19 infections if we didn’t have manufacturers working to replenish our stockpiles of personal protective equipment and critical medical supplies. And, as a matter of fact, it is because of affordable, abundant natural gas – the liquids of which provide a primary component in this equipment – that we were able to efficiently produce it.
To promote an either-or approach to their “solution,” and suggesting additional jobs are unlikely to come to fruition is not only misleading, but ironically counterproductive to their position. To realize their supposed-alternative plan, they will need manufacturing powered and supplied by natural gas, as well as countless more raw materials sourced both at home and abroad.
The winds will blow, the water flow and the sun may shine, but there’s no free ride. Someone needs to manufacture, install, service, repair and in time replace the mechanical systems needed to generate power via “renewable” energy sources.
As many Pennsylvanians return to work, our future union members are in training programs preparing to tap into the manufacturing rebirth Pennsylvania natural gas has brought to their hometowns. This home-grown resource allows Pennsylvania to have both a growing economy and a healthy environment. Together, we can drive the Pittsburgh region into a new economic revival.
Executive director, Builders Guild of Western Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh