Posted September 30, 2016
Stephanie Catarino Wissman, executive director of the Associated Petroleum Industries of Pennsylvania, briefed state reporters on the critical need for additional pipeline infrastructure in the commonwealth if it is to fully harness its energy resources. Wissman joined API-PA after serving as director of government affairs for the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry. She also has served as manager of government affairs for Embarq, a global integrated communications provider. Wissman is a graduate of Penn State University. Below, her remarks as prepared for delivery:
The need to continue to safely and responsibly develop and utilize American-produced energy has never been more important. In Pennsylvania, nothing could be more critical to the commonwealth, its residents and its business community. Additional pipeline infrastructure is the key to helping Pennsylvania fulfill the promise of its energy economy. Today, the greatest challenge we have in Pennsylvania’s natural gas industry is the lack of necessary pipeline infrastructure to connect our gas production with other markets across America. It is estimated that 25 to 30 percent of the wells drilled to date still do not have pipeline takeaway capacity.
There are many proposed pipeline projects around the commonwealth that can change that problem. For example, the Atlantic Sunrise and PennEast pipeline projects will deliver much needed affordable and clean natural gas to millions of American homes by connecting producing regions in northeastern Pennsylvania to markets both here and in other states.
The Mariner East II will transport natural gas liquids such as ethane and butane from Eastern Ohio and Southwestern Pennsylvania to the Marcus Hook industrial complex outside of Philadelphia. Natural gas liquids can supply heat during the winter, are used to power homes and businesses and, most importantly, provide a fuel source and help produce feedstock for Pennsylvania’s manufacturing and agricultural industry.
If you need proof of how this works, look no further than the Middle Susquehanna Valley for how an approved pipeline project is helping many in the region and the commonwealth. Recently, UGI received approval to build the Sunbury Pipeline from Lycoming County to the natural gas-fired electricity generation plant at Hummel Station in Shamokin Dam. This project has been hailed by local and state elected leaders, regulators and the business community as the answer to bringing more electricity to local users and also helping to meet clean power goals by utilizing efficient and clean-burning natural gas.
In addition, much needed pipeline infrastructure doesn’t just help Pennsylvania natural gas get to market and the residential and business community, it also helps counties and townships through the impact fee. The PA Independent Fiscal Office recently published an Impact Fee Update and 2016 Outlook, where it recognized the decline in impact tax revenues, paid by natural gas producers, due to several factors including fewer wells being drilled. The outlook also points to inadequate pipeline infrastructure as a reason for declining impact tax revenues. According to the 2016 IFO Outlook, if additional infrastructure is brought online, the drilling of new wells could increase. And, if so, impact fee collections would rise accordingly, per the report, helping communities across Pennsylvania.
We consider the development of the Marcellus and Utica Shales and connecting natural gas to energy markets as a long-term proposition. With these pipelines, Pennsylvania can help power America for generations to come. This is a smart, forward-looking strategy that recognizes the important contribution pipelines and natural gas will make to continue the reduction in carbon emissions. The benefits of the U.S. energy renaissance through the onset of large quantities of clean and affordable natural gas are clear, and carbon emissions from power generation are at their lowest levels in nearly 20 years. We have done this while we have increased our nation’s access to reliable energy sources and reducing our reliance on foreign energy sources.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Reid Porter is a spokesman for the American Petroleum Institute. Before joining API, he worked as Account Supervisor at Edelman. Porter double majored in English Literature and the Spanish language at Middlebury College in Vermont. He enjoys traveling, cheering for the Green Bay Packers, soccer, rereading Hemingway novels and spending time with family.