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Attracting Industry Investors is a Must to Keep Pennsylvania ahead of Energy Curve

The Pennsylvania chemical industry stands for environmentally safe, family sustaining jobs  – just look at the numbers.

It’s one of Pennsylvania’s leading overall manufacturers contributing about $22.2 billion to the state economy.

Wages for those who work in the industry are good too, averaging about $88,000 a year.

That says a lot about where the industry is headed and headed fast.

As Pennsylvania continues to grow as a major energy producer, energy infrastructure and value-added industries must keep pace to retain the hugely valuable commodities this state produces instead of setting their sites on the Gulf Coast, which already has a well-trained workforce and is home to one of the largest petrochemical industrial complexes in the world.

The issue was widely discussed at the 2015 Natural Gas Utilization Conference held in Canonsburg, PA last month.

Here is what energy experts are saying:

Pennsylvania must attract more chemical industry plant and equipment investment if it is to realize the long-term benefits of in-state natural gas and associated liquids.

So how do we attract capital investment?  Here are a few thoughts.

  1. To make the petrochemical hub a reality in the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia regions we need to build an educated, qualified workforce by strengthening STEM programs like ShaleNet, as described by Dennis Yablonsky, CEO of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, who spoke at the conference.
  2. We need to create tax-free zones to encourage capital investment. House Speaker Mike Turzai has introduced the Keystone Energy Enhancement Act. The proposed legislation would provide tax abatements to manufacturers located in a designated zone using Pennsylvania produced natural gas.
  3. We need to continue to develop our pipeline infrastructure at a rapid pace.

So here’s what you can do. Call your state and federal elected officials, support pipeline development and increased utilization of natural gas in the tri-state region and support Speaker Turzai’s Keystone Energy Enhancement Act.

It will help keep Pennsylvania ahead in the energy market and help us target new opportunities that will keep us moving forward.

Jeffrey Logan is Bravo Group’s environmental and regulatory practice lead. He serves as president of the Pennsylvania Chemical Industry Council.