Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The biggest loser in last night's debate: Anti-drillers

Posted by Greg Matusky
Wow! What a difference four years make. Back then, Sarah Palin was mocked for her "Drill, baby, drill" pro energy development slogan. Last night, we watched as Mitt Romney and President Obama fell over each other to paint themselves as strong advocates of domestic energy development.

Romney includes North American energy independence as a cornerstone of his five-point economic recovery plan. President Obama countered Romney's charge that the president's administration has cut the number of drilling licenses and permits on federal land in half with the assertion that the cuts were due to the fact that drillers had not moved FAST enough. This presumably clears a path to faster energy development here in the United States.

The consensus is startling, and brought forth by an economic reality that today sees some 12.1 million Americans still looking for work. Putting those Americans back to work depends in large part on ending our country's destructive addiction to foreign oil, and replacing it with domestically produced energy.

For the left, you would think that would mean huge investments in renewable energy. But last night, renewables, and their future promise, took second stage to domestically produced oil and particularly natural gas, which, as the president pointed out, represents at least a 100-year supply of this cleaner burning fuel.

The sea change is great news here in Pennsylvania, which sits atop the massive energy opportunity that is Marcellus Shale. Made accessible by hydraulic fracturing, Marcellus is estimated to hold that 100-year supply of energy the president alluded to last night.

And it's little wonder that both political houses understand the importance of this energy revolution. Repeatedly, last night, both candidates explained that manufacturing holds the key to reviving our economy. Advanced manufacturing, that which depends less on mass labor and more on technology, tends to migrate to places where energy is cheap, abundant, and assured. More and more, that's beginning to sound like Pennsylvania. And more and more, it's a message reaching both sides of the aisle, as last night attests.

By the same token, many of the geo-political issues that promise to fuel the next debate would be moot if America wasn't forced to meddle in the Middle East to preserve our energy blood lines. Benghazi? It would be rendered irrelevant if not but for the presence of Libya's vast oil reserves.

In all this effort, Gregory FCA is proud to have been a founding member of the Delaware Valley Marcellus Association, along with Duane Morris and KPMG. In a scant few months, we have built a network of some 120 Southeastern Pennsylvania businesses dedicated to readying our local economy for America's next energy transformation.

As an important hub of investment, labor, and political clout, this corner of the state has been slow to understand the transformative power of the vast, domestic energy supplies within The Marcellus. It's obvious that much of this energy could pass through our refineries and ports on its way to other domestic and international markets.

In that regard, the Association is already meeting with groups from as far away as France and Korea. They are eager to learn more about the Delaware Valley's infrastructure and its ability to export shale gas to world markets that also value cleaner burning, less expensive natural gas.

Last night's debate illustrated just how far political opinion has come with regard to energy independence and the need to put in place policies and procedures that ensure responsible development that will make for a stronger U.S. economy and a safer world, all because of Pennsylvania-produced energy.
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