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Ban on natural gas development would reverse environmental progress

We applaud the Sun-Gazette for sharing the devastating impact that a hydraulic fracturing ban, as proposed by some presidential candidates, would have on consumers, our economy, the environment and our national security (“Dem candidates being irresponsible by calling for ban against fracking,” Sept. 21).

The elimination of hydraulic fracturing and fossil fuels as some have championed would bring the economy as we know it to a standstill. Such a policy would mean the loss of hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs, a $45 billion annual reduction in state GDP and cost $3,500 per household, according to a 2016 U.S. Chamber of Commerce report.

Nearly every segment of our economy is reliant upon natural gas in its manufacturing. As well, oil is the life blood of our transportation system and would hamper our ability to produce the nation’s pharmaceutical medications and our food supply.

Given these broad, negative economic impacts, it is no wonder that working families, including the labor community, are “skeptical” of proposals to ban hydraulic fracturing, according to a recent Associated Press report. Or that voters “fear [the] economic impact,” as found by a recent Rasmussen Reports nationwide survey.

What is more, the shale revolution has driven key environmental achievements, as more natural gas is used in power generation and transportation.

An immediate ban on natural gas development would likely result in increased emissions and reverse the environmental progress we have gained.

Politicians should recognize all that we have achieved with the responsible production of natural gas – and how much further it can drive our goals. Supporting and growing domestic shale production should be a core focus of any public policy discussion aimed at building upon the economic and environmental progress we have realized for Pennsylvania and the nation.

David Spigelmyer is president of the Pittsburgh-based Marcellus Shale Coalition.

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