In the Appalachian region, the natural gas boom has resulted in record levels of natural gas production. Along with it we’ve seen greater energy independence, lower heating costs, and access to natural gas for businesses and manufacturers. Regional markets across the country, however, have been unable to access those same resources, due in large part to insufficient pipeline capacity. As The Pittsburgh Business Times writes:
“The Northeast has been particularly hard hit by pipeline delays, and consumers and businesses are paying high prices for natural gas despite abundant domestic supplies,” Ortwein said. Residential customers in Northeast states, including Pennsylvania, pay 29 percent more than the U.S. average for natural gas and 44 percent more for electricity, Ortwein said. Industrial users pay twice the national average for natural gas and 62 percent more for electricity, she said.
Expanding our pipeline infrastructure will also extend benefits to a far wider range of Americans. We’re not able to best utilize our natural resources with our current energy infrastructure, and as The Pittsburgh Business Times also notes:
“For the shale industry, putting enough pipelines into operation to move the Marcellus and Utica production from the wells to markets is critical. There isn’t as much demand for natural gas within Appalachia as there is gas being produced; that’s limiting the markets for Marcellus and Utica shale gas as well as leading to discounts for the gas that is sold.”
Right now we’re not helping the American people as much as we can. The natural gas boom of recent years has lifted most ships, but some have been left behind. It’s time to take the necessary steps to ensure that everyone feels the maximum benefits from our incredible natural resources. CEPI strongly supports bringing our pipeline capacity up to production levels, allowing greater distribution of our natural gas and benefits to touch a greater number of lives. We need to continue to invest in pipeline infrastructure so we can continue to improve our country.