Thursday, October 13, 2011


Kathryn Klaber (Marcellus Shale Coalition) makes the case for shale gas:

These are good, family-sustaining jobs, and not exclusive to those who work long hours on drilling rigs. The supply chain that supports our industry's work is robust and its economic impact is cascading. Recently, the U.S. Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that Washington County -- one of the most active Marcellus producing regions -- had the third highest percent increase in employment in the entire nation.

The connection between job growth and shale gas is tenuous. Regardless, it will be a major selling point in the upcoming election. The latest hype from National Public Radio:

Around the region, you can find many stories of businesses doing well because of the drilling boom — especially in Pennsylvania. U.S. Steel executive Doug Matthews says he had difficulty finding a hotel room in the small town of Williamsport last winter.

"That was a little bit surprising," he says.

Matthews is the senior vice president of tubular operations at U.S. Steel — his division makes the pipes and tubes the gas drilling industry uses.

U.S. Steel is based in Pittsburgh and is still a big driver for the local economy. When it does well, so do its contractors, like Chapman Corp. in Washington, Pa.

Shale gas is becoming THE economic story for Southwestern PA and the surrounding area (e.g. Youngstown). The really big driver for the local economy is eds and meds. Energy plays a significant part if you count coal and nuclear power as well as natural gas. Finance is back on the map. Tech is doing well. Pittsburgh is doing well.

Pittsburgh's revitalization predates the Marcellus boom. Washington County is lucky to be in the MSA. There are plenty of counties with substantial drilling not experiencing the same kind of job growth. Yet the Rust Belt pejorative endures. Look at Pittsburgh now! See how shale gas can save your shrinking community.

Klaber's ridiculous sales pitch, the hyperbole, is putting Pittsburgh on the map. Roboburgh couldn't deliver the migrants. Gasburgh can and will:

In an ad that has blanketed radio airwaves in the Washington region, a woman’s voice gently intones, “Imagine . . . one million new jobs.”

“One million new American jobs,” echoes a man. “One million new opportunities to build a career,” says the woman.

“Support a family.”

“Follow your dreams.”

And where will these “one million new jobs” come from? By expanding oil and gas drilling and building new pipelines, says the American Petroleum Institute, an industry lobbying group that paid for the ad campaign, which also has featured in newspapers, on television and on Metro platforms.

Pittsburgh is the face of this promise. It's a wildly inaccurate portrait, but an effective one. More importantly, the vision could help swing Rust Belt voters.

The cold, hard truth doesn't matter to prospective migrants. More people will "know" Pittsburgh as an energy boom town. You want a job? Move to Southwestern Pennsylvania.

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