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America’s Natural Gas Boom Fuels Small Businesses

Three companies in Pennsylvania have seen the benefits firsthand.

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April 23, 2020

Business owners in Moon Township, a small town in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, often say the development of the Marcellus Shale for natural gas production since 2008 has brought economic benefits well beyond the natural gas and oil industry. It’s had a ripple effect throughout the whole area, spurring strong and lasting growth in revenues, wages and land values.

Information technology jobs are up 18%, jobs in transportation and warehousing have grown about 12%, even jobs in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector have seen double digit growth. And, they’re all benefiting from lower utility bills.

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“This industry provides people with optimism instead of pessimism,” says At-Large County Councilman Sam DeMarco. “Right now, the unemployment rate in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County is the lowest it’s been since we started recording it in 1976. That means thousands of residents have good sustaining jobs.”

Communities across the country — in Colorado, New Mexico and Texas — have been similarly reinvigorated by the American energy revolution. And the growth is expected to continue. Investments in natural gas and oil planned in the last decade are projected to raise by an annual average of $36 billion in tax revenue and add $1.89 trillion in GDP nationally.

Here are just three businesses in Moon Township that have benefited from the shale gas boom:

1) A growing water recycling business

Nick Haden is the owner of Reserved Environmental Services, which provides water recycling services to the industry – an integral part of the industry’s commitment to minimizing its environmental impact. Today, his company has 90 employees and will soon open its third recycling plant – thanks to increased demand.

Haden, who grew up in Moon, describes what happened when his natural gas and oil services company began to expand. “At the time, our employees would say things like, ‘Thank you, this is going to be the best Christmas we have ever had.’ Hearing that from your employees means a lot.

2) Expanding industries spur job growth

After Ann Flask experienced job loss, she visited a job fair and met a recruiter for Pittsburgh’s local Steamfitters union. Soon after that, she became a welder, a job that today is in high demand as new manufacturing and infrastructure projects continue to be approved. This includes a multi-billion-dollar chemical plant Shell is building in the area to turn natural gas into the building blocks for plastics. At the peak of the construction phase, the project is supporting an estimated 6,000 jobs.

America’s Natural Gas Boom Fuels Small Businesses

“There was a buzz about this project, and we are all excited about the job creation, not just for the steamfitters but for everyone,” Flask says. “It’s been a great provider for me, and I am excited to be part of something that is going to provide for the long term.”

3) Putting drivers in the driver’s seat

The Shale revolution also presented Hunter Truck, a western Pennsylvania based trucking company, an opportunity to grow their trucking business in the region — so much so that the team claims that a CDL driver’s license can be as valuable as a Ph.D. these days.

“About 10 years ago, our vice president of sales decided to buy 80 water trucks without any orders because he heard there was a real need in the [natural gas and oil] industry,” said Nancy Hunter Mycka, one of the third-generation owners of the company. “We all thought he was crazy at the time, and then all but one of those trucks sold before they even arrived. And the last truck sold the same day it got here.”

To fill their gap in qualified workers, they built their own training center an hour north of Moon. Since 2008, Hunter Truck has seen more than 40% growth. Today the company has more than 1,000 employees, sells more than 3,000 trucks annually and maintains a network of garage/maintenance facilities that can service more than 10,000 trucks a year.

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Do You Know the Energy Basics?

What is the single biggest reason for the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States?

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Correct! The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that from 2005-2019, 65% of the decline in CO2 emissions in the electric power sector was attributable to switching from coal-fired to natural gas-fired electricity generation. Learn more about the power of natural gas.

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Good try! The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that from 2005-2019, 65% of the decline in CO2 emissions in the electric power sector was attributable to the switching from coal-fired to natural gas-fired electricity generation. Learn more.

Discover More Here