TribLive | Tuesday, September 29, 2015 | Jeffrey Kupfer
Speaking to a crowd of oil and gas field workers, Gov. Jeb Bush gave a national voice to what everyone in this region has experienced — that developing and using our domestic energy resources is essential for strong economic growth.
Gov. Bush has the evidence to back him up. According to consulting firm IHS CERA, our country’s new oil and gas production — anchored by this area’s Marcellus shale — has been responsible for nearly 40 percent of U.S. overall GDP growth from 2008 to 2013.
All of this means that what we’re doing in Pennsylvania to get energy out of the ground is essential to creating good, high-paying jobs, restarting our factories and making America even more competitive. Over 240,000 Pennsylvanians are working in jobs tied to natural gas production, and homeowners are saving on average $1,200 a year in lower energy bills compared to 2008.
Recent declines in oil and gas prices have curtailed investment in the energy sector. Sure enough, that has hit businesses and workers. However, we don’t need to take that situation as a given, as something outside of our control. If we implement the policies outlined by Bush, we can continue to have an affordable and reliable supply of energy, as well as create vibrant economic growth in this region and the rest of the country.
Jeffrey Kupfer is the former acting deputy secretary of the U.S. Energy Department. He is also an adjunct professor of policy and management at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College.