Governor Tom Corbett’s energy plan is once again making Pennsylvania an attractive place to do business. His "Energy=Jobs" plan combines the use of our vast energy resources with a favorable political climate that reinforces a surging trend of attracting businesses from all over the world.
The power behind the plan lies in proper government restraint. Governor Corbett believes that the market, given appropriate environmental safeguards, best decides in what proportion our energy resources are developed and used. He fittingly calls it his "all of the above and below" energy plan.
The plan has the support of those in the energy sector and in the business community. Energy is a baseline cost of doing business. As such, Pennsylvania must maintain a competitive energy market to ensure cost control. "To maintain business competitiveness we must constantly examine all ways we can lower the costs of creating a job," said David N. Taylor, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association. "Energy is an essential input to all job creators, manufacturers or otherwise, and government should do all it can to power Pennsylvania’s economy by making energy readily available, reliable, and safely produced while ensuring its affordability."
An additional component of the Governor’s message last week to business decision-makers all over the world focused on the state’s image. Governor Corbett is urging individuals to "think energy" when thinking of Pennsylvania. But energy costs, production, and sales don’t just happen at a state or national level; this is an internationally competitive market. "Efforts to dictate the market from the top down have failed repeatedly every time it’s ever been tried," said Taylor. "On the federal level they tried it yet again, and, once more, it’s costing us millions of dollars and getting us nowhere."
The Corbett plan focuses on energy independence, both in our own commonwealth and for our nation. By utilizing coal, natural gas, nuclear power, oil, hydropower, wind, solar and other renewables, Pennsylvania has become an energy leader in almost every category. The administration’s plan focuses on what we already do well, and strives to make it even better. The plan embraces the free market, ensures protection for the environment, and promotes abundant and affordable energy for all Pennsylvanians.
"People think of Texas and West Virginia as having a strong history of resource development," said Patrick Henderson, the Governor’s Energy Executive. "What we’re saying is our history is every bit as strong. Come talk to us."
In many ways Pennsylvania is stronger than the competition.. The Governor’s former Environmental Protection Secretary Michael L. Krancer, who is now with Blank Rome LLP, says we have the three key characteristics of an energy profile needed to attract business: affordable power, wet gas feedstock (the building block for hundreds of products), and proximity to market.
"We are a day’s drive to 60 percent of the population in this country," Krancer said. "And another thing that’s often overlooked is that we don’t have the hurricane worry that the South has."
Energy does in fact equal jobs. Jobs at the power plant, jobs creating the energy infrastructure via power lines and pipelines, and jobs at the professional level. In the end, energy sustains the jobs of every single working Pennsylvanian.
Statistics tell Pennsylvania’s story as a world energy leader:
• 4th in overall energy production at 3,858 trillion BTUs
• 2nd in net electricity generation
• 2nd in natural gas production (growing 1,144 % faster than No. 1 Texas)
• 2nd in nuclear generation
• 4th in coal production and the only producer of high-heat anthracite coal
• 9th in installed solar generation capacity
• 15th in wind energy capacity and 9th in new wind capacity installed in 2012
• 19th in crude oil production (as well as hosting in Philadelphia the largest oil refining complex on the East Coast)
Governor Corbett’s plan looks even better when compared to alternatives in other states. In a recent Forbes article, Krancer wrote that a plan unveiled by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is a "feel-good" iteration of affordable energy, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and grid reliability with no mention of the state’s stance on natural gas production. Closer to home, U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Montgomery), also a gubernatorial candidate, is calling for a new, extra tax on the job creation machine that is Marcellus Shale natural gas exploration.
"Every candidate for governor in the Democratic field has either supported additional job-killing taxes or an all-out moratorium," said Taylor. "An additional tax will not ‘save the environment.’ All it will do is send the drillers to West Virginia and Ohio where the environmental regulations are less strict than ours."
Cuomo and Pennsylvania’s Democratic gubernatorial candidates are offering more of the same top-down engineering that in its most frightening expression amounts to bullying of industry. Take for instance the EPA’s trampling of the coal industry.
In contrast, the Corbett plan is especially appealing to the Pennsylvania Coal Alliance.
"We can’t ask for any more than allowing the market to decide," said George Ellis, President of the Alliance. "And by doing that, we’re becoming an energy power house. Southwest Pennsylvania alone is becoming an energy center in the world. We have coal, gas and Westinghouse, a world leader in nuclear energy, based there."