Appalachian Basin

Energy Secretary Moniz: Marcellus Shale Production ‘Critical’ and ‘Amazing’

This week, U.S. Energy Department Secretary Ernest Moniz reaffirmed his support of shale development during an interview with Capital New York. Moniz has often spoken about the importance shale is playing in the U.S. energy outlook, as well as the clear safety record of hydraulic fracturing. During this latest interview, Moniz also weighed in on Governor Andrew’s Cuomo’s ban on shale development in New York:

“This new resource is of critical importance. If you look at Pennsylvania, it’s amazing, in the Marcellus shale… They have gone from a very, very minor contributor to the national natural gas production, to nearly 20 percent in a remarkably short period. And as we know, that has had enormous economic benefits for the state. Obviously, New York will presumably take that as one of the factors to be considered in its decision.”

For five and half years, New York residents have had to endure Governor Cuomo’s baseless ban on shale development in the state, even as their close neighbors in Pennsylvania reap enormous economic benefits. In addition, thanks to New York’s increased use of clean-burning natural gas, New York City has some of the cleanest air in the country.

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) website reinforces that the benefits of our abundant supply of natural gas are not a fleeting boom, but will serve as a staple of the U.S. energy portfolio for the long-term. Secretary Moniz is on a lengthy list of administration officials and regulatory authorities who recognize the importance of responsible domestic energy production. Shale development is not only making the United States more energy secure; it’s also generating revenue at the federal, state and local levels, not to mention consumer benefits.

The DOE fact sheet points to natural gas as an immense job creator, both presently and for years to come. For shale development specifically, the industry supports 600,000 jobs, in addition to creating thousands of manufacturing jobs in the steel, chemical and plastics industries. The oil and gas industry as a whole is directly responsible for two million jobs. according to DOE, which translates to $175 billion in labor income. The American Petroleum Institute’s economic impact analysis finds that the oil and gas industry actually supports 9.8 million jobs when indirect and induced jobs are fully accounted for; in total, these jobs constitute 5.6 percent of all U.S. employment in 2011.

Secretary Moniz went on to say during the interview that natural gas produced by fracking has boosted American industry by more than $100 billion and reduced U.S. carbon dioxide emissions to a 20-year low. Meanwhile, the President recently traveled to the Marcellus Shale region and spoke at the U.S. Steel Irvin plant in West Mifflin, Pa., where he emphasized the resurgence of manufacturing jobs in the area, owing in no small part to low-cost energy supplies. Indeed, the Pennsylvania State Energy Plan estimated that, “by 2020, shale gas development will contribute nearly $14 billion in economic activity to Pennsylvania and generate $5.6 billion in federal, state and local taxes.”

With top regulators backing the safety of hydraulic fracturing, President Obama’s repeated endorsements, and the numerous studies confirming the environmental benefits of shale, Secretary Moniz’s remarks should surprise no one. Extremist groups that oppose fracking have been lobbying Secretary Moniz to deny science as part of their ideological crusade to stop shale development, but it’s reassuring to know that their position is being increasingly marginalized by the facts.

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