Appalachian Basin

President Obama Touts Shale-Fueled Growth in Manufacturing

Yesterday, President Obama traveled to the Marcellus Shale region and spoke at the U.S. Steel Irvin Plant in West Mifflin, just outside of Pittsburgh.  The president touted the resurgence of manufacturing jobs in the area, which has been fueled by abundant natural gas production.  Mario Langhi, President and CEO of U.S. Steel Corporation, introduced President Obama and provided some much-needed context into how the steel manufactured there is used in our daily lives.

More specifically, the steel made at this facility is being used to manufacture pipelines needed to bring natural gas to our homes.  And while the steel industry manufactures and provides pipelines, the natural gas industry has supplied steel plants like Irvin with cheap natural gas, which keeps production costs down.

“Steel made at our Mon Valley area locations by our more than 3,000 employees is transformed into objects which are essential to modern society,” Langhi said. “Items like cars and trucks, household appliances, industrial equipment, parts for jewelry, watches, computers, and robotics.”

Langhi also added, “Every steel manufacturing job creates seven jobs in the U.S. economy.”

These plants are not only providing high-paying jobs to hardworking Americans, but they also supply other industries with the necessary materials needed to do their jobs — from fertilizer plants in the Dakotas to steel industries located right here in southwestern Pennsylvania. Natural gas is fueling these facilities and making it economically viable for companies to invest in America.

As President Obama stated during his speech at U.S. Steel: “Business leaders are starting to realize that China is no longer the best place to invest and create jobs, America is.”

Thanks in no small part to increased natural gas production and availability, companies are now moving to the United States, and we’re also seeing a considerable amount of re-shoring here in America. President Obama noted that this reinvestment in America “is creating a manufacturing renaissance, resulting in the lowest employment rate in five years.” He added:

“This company helped build America and over 100 years later we’re still at it.  It’s manufacturing the pipes to transport cleaner burning natural gas and the production of light weight alloy used to make fuel efficient cars.  You’re part of the rebound of the great American steel industry. Businesses like U.S. Steel have created eight million new jobs over the past four years.”

President Obama went on to say that for the first time since the 1990s, manufacturing is adding jobs, not losing them.  Natural gas production and end use have not only cut air emissions and helped reduce CO2 levels to what they were in the mid ’90s, but it has also created hundreds of thousands of new jobs.  Now with the manufacturing industry having easy access to cheap and abundant natural gas, a proud American industry once again has the ability to expand and create more well-paying jobs.

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 President Obama backing this industry and all the jobs it creates, manufacturing will have the continued opportunity to grow not only here in southwest Pennsylvania, but all across the county.

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