Industry leaders, legislators tout benefits of pipelines at Cleveland Brothers rally

What do the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays mean to Pennsylvanians?

For some, natural gas means jobs. For others, it means energy independence. For many communities, it means economic revitalization. All of these factors drew industry leaders and public officials together last week to celebrate the natural gas industry at a rally sponsored by the Energy Equipment & Infrastructure Alliance (EEIA).

Under a backdrop of cerulean skies (and a 60-foot-wide free-flying American flag), industry supporters gathered at rally host and co-sponsor Cleveland Brothers, in Dauphin County, for fellowship, food and a unified call to support building energy infrastructure in Pennsylvania.

“Natural gas has been a blessing from the hand of God,” said Doug McLinko, chairman of the Bradford County commissioners. “It has helped to save more family farms and small businesses than any government program ever could.”

McLinko’s message was echoed by other rally speakers, including state Rep. Jonathan Fritz (R-Susquehanna/Wayne counties), Pa. Rep. Stephen Bloom (R-Cumberland County) and U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Luzerne County).

“Good energy jobs aren’t just in the gas fields,” Bloom said. “They are right here in the middle of Pa. in power plants, manufacturing operations, excavation and so much more.”

Pipelines mean jobs

The cooler months are often cruel to Cleveland Brothers’ bottom line. But that’s not the case this year, said Dave Kunkelmann, the company’s director of order fulfillment. The reason? Atlantic Sunrise, which recently began construction.

“It’s really kept us going through the year end,” Kunkelmann said. “We expect it to be busy all the way through the winter.”

Cleveland Brothers, which sells and rents construction equipment, has 26 locations in Pennsylvania. It employs approximately 1,150 people, with hundreds of those positions dedicated to the oil and gas industries, company President and CEO Jay Cleveland said.

Atlantic Sunrise means those jobs will remain filled, and it will be an economic boost for the entire region. And these aren’t just any jobs, as Bloom pointed out. They are stable, high-paying jobs for hardworking Pennsylvanians.

“Energy jobs are the lifeblood of Pennsylvania’s economy,” Bloom said.

Natural gas has pumped billions into Pennsylvania’s economy and created tens of thousands of jobs. These jobs aren’t strictly in exploration, drilling and distribution. They are everywhere — from restaurants and hotels to transportation and the supply chain, Toby Mack, president and CEO of EEIA, pointed out.

“When you think of yourself as an equipment person … think of yourself as an energy person,” Mack said.

Pipelines mean energy independence

As a U.S. Marine, John Borys, branch operations manager for Cleveland Brothers’ Wilkes-Barre/Scranton facility, served during a time when the country depended on foreign oil.

“Those of us in uniform knew that part of our job was to prepare to fight to protect those energy sources,” Borys said. “Many sacrifices were made in the line of duty to complete that objective.”

Now, with natural gas, America has a shot at energy independence — and Pennsylvania can lead the way.

“We have more energy under our feet than oil in Saudi Arabia,” Barletta said, noting that Pennsylvania’s natural gas deposits can make the state a world energy leader. “Other states would love to have the opportunity that we have.”

However, having all that natural gas does nothing without the necessary infrastructure to get it to market.

“We have the resources, but we can’t get it where we need to,” Bloom said.

For Fritz’s district and all of northeast Pennsylvania, natural gas has been a blessing.

“It’s provided an optimism that has been absent for decades,” he said. “It means the world to me that the next generation has something to look forward to.”

But all the optimism is for naught if the U.S. remains dependent on foreign energy sources and Pennsylvania does not have the infrastructure to allow the transport of natural gas.

“[Pipelines] are the safest way to deliver energy to homes, businesses and manufacturers,” said George Stark, director of external affairs, Cabot Oil & Gas. “We need this American fuel to fuel the economy.”

$292,834 in Atlantic Sunrise Community Grants Benefit First Responders, Schools and Townships in Pennsylvania

Thirty-five organizations from 10 Pennsylvania counties will benefit this fall from $292,834 in funding from Williams through the company’s semiannual Atlantic Sunrise Community Grant program.

Williams awarded up to $10,000 to eligible organizations in communities where the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project will be constructed and operated.

One of the 35 recipients is the Conservation Foundation of Lancaster County, which will use an $8,000 grant to help fund its STEM Education Takes Root Outdoors Program.

“Nearly 50% of Lancaster County’s streams are impaired,” said Chris Thompson, Conservation Foundation of Lancaster County.  “These grant dollars will help us connect kids with the outdoors so they will want to become citizen scientists, recognize contributing factors that impair water quality and learn about practices that improve water quality.  We sincerely appreciate Williams’ support.”

Another recipient is the Milton Fire Department in Northumberland County, which will use a grant of $7,500 to purchase a new thermal imager.

“The Milton Fire Department plans to use these Atlantic Sunrise grant dollars to purchase a new thermal imager. Our current thermal imager is nearly 20 years old and largely outdated,” Deputy Chief Joseph Luposaid. “These dollars will help us implement more modern technology to keep our community safer, aiding us by speeding up searches for possible victims in burning structures. We are definitely grateful for Williams’ support.”

Today’s announcement represents the sixth grant award cycle. Williams has announced total awards to 268 organizations of more than $2 million across the Atlantic Sunrise project area since the program’s inception in 2015.

Two cycles of Atlantic Sunrise grant awards are announced each year (spring and fall). This cycle’s grant dollars were dispersed in the following broad categories: emergency response ($169,500), education ($59,000) and recreation or community enhancement projects ($64,334).

 

Fall 2017 Grant Award Recipients:

Clinton County

  • $10,000.00 to Citizen’s Hose Co. of South Renovo, for an ATV/UTV
  • $10,000.00 to Renovo Community Senior Center, for the Renovo Community Senior Center Project

Columbia County

  • $3,000.00 to Benton Area School District, for iPads for Science and Math Curriculum
  • $5,334.00 to Benton Avenue Cemetery Association, for Road Resurfacing Project
  • $10,000.00 to Bloomsburg Fire Department Inc., for a Firefighting Skid Unit
  • $10,000.00 to Bloomsburg Volunteer Ambulance Association, for Emergency Medical Technician Classroom Development
  • $3,000.00 to Columbia County Traveling Library Authority, for the Bookmobile Means Business Program
  • $8,100.00 to Hemlock Township, for Computer Upgrades
  • $5,000.00 to the Foundation of the Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce, for Workforce Development Education
  • $10,000.00 to Orangeville Area Police, for Equipment Upgrades

Lancaster County

  • $10,000.00 to Columbia Borough Fire Department, for Gas Detection Equipment
  • $10,000.00 to Conestoga Township, for Pool Improvements
  • $8,000.00 to Conservation Foundation of Lancaster County, for STEM Education Takes Root Outdoors Program
  • $10,000.00 to Lancaster County Public Safety Training Center Foundation, for Training Facility Projector, Tables and Chairs
  • $7,500.00 to Thaddeus Stevens Foundation/College of Technology, for Welding Scholarship Program
  • $10,000.00 to Thaddeus Stevens Foundation/College of Technology, for Welding Education Expansion

Lebanon County

  • $10,000.00 to Lebanon Fire Department, for a Mobile Ventilation Trailer
  • $10,000.00 to South Lebanon Township Fire Police, for Equipment Purchase
  • $10,000.00 to North Lebanon Township, for Lenni Lenape Park – Trees
  • $6,400.00 to North Lebanon Township Emergency Management, for EOC Upgrade

Luzerne County

  • $10,000.00 to Dr. David W. Kistler Elementary School, for KISTLER Gets Real with STEM
  • $5,000.00 to Dupont Borough, for a Garden Park
  • $10,000.00 to Hazleton Fire Department, for a Fit Testing Machine

Lycoming County

  • $10,000.00 to Pennsylvania College of Technology Foundation, for Makerspace at Pennsylvania College of Technology

Northumberland County

  • $4,000.00 to Shamokin Police Department, for Traffic Safety
  • $7,500.00 to Milton Fire Department, for Thermal Imager Replacement

Schuylkill County

  • $10,000.00 to Hegins Township Police Department, for the Radio Project
  • $9,000.00 to Northern Swatara Creek Watershed Association, for the Upper Little Swatara Creek Habitat Improvement Project Phase 3
  • $10,000.00 to North End Fire Company, for Updated Turnout Gear

Susquehanna County

  • $5,000.00 to Hop Bottom Borough, for Vehicle Radios and Portable Radios
  • $10,000.00 to Susquehanna Fire Department Inc., for New Ambulance Litter

Wyoming County

  • $8,500.00 to Factoryville Fire Company, for Communications Radio and Pager Acquisition
  • $7,500.00 to Keystone College, for an Energy Industry Scholarship
  • $10,000.00 to Keystone College, for Keystone College Trolley Trail Connections
  • $10,000.00 to Meshoppen Borough Police, for Police Car Equipment Upgrade

About Atlantic Sunrise

The Atlantic Sunrise project is an expansion of the existing Transco natural gas pipeline system in eastern Pennsylvania designed to transport enough natural gas to serve approximately 7 million homes. The design and construction of the project is projected to generate approximately $1.6 billion in positive economic impact, according to a study authored by researchers at Pennsylvania State University.

About Williams

Williams operates the Transco pipeline, which consists of more than 10,000 miles of pipe and provides about one-third of the natural gas consumed in Pennsylvania. Williams operates pipelines and related facilities which handle about 30% of the nation’s natural gas.

Hundreds attend Atlantic Sunrise job fair

A job fair hosted by the Teamsters Labor Management Cooperative Trust produced 198 applicants interested in working on Williams’ Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project. The two-day public event was held Oct. 6 and Oct. 7 at the Crowne Plaza Harrisburg-Hershey in Harrisburg, Pa.

The Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project is expected to create approximately 400 new jobs for the Teamsters, including positions for commercial truck drivers. Applicants were given a complete overview of the project, including wages, hours and working conditions. The prospect of a high-earning career is why many came to the job fair.

‘Quality jobs’

“These are good, high-paying, quality jobs with insurance and benefits here in their home state,” said Michael LaBorde, the training director with the Teamsters National Pipeline Training Fund. “There’s a great sense of pride to come to a community like this, talk to people who are unemployed and have an opportunity for them to make these kinds of wages to better their lives.”

At least five job seekers who attended the job fair have already been put to work at Atlantic Sunrise construction sites.

“It’s absolutely good. This is how our people feed their families. The more work we get in this area, the more people will prosper,” said Edgar H. Thompson, president of Teamsters Local 776 In Harrisburg.

Training offered

Safety instruction was also addressed at the job fair. Applicants were advised on the training and qualifications necessary for the jobs they are applying for. Over 100 attendees have been enrolled in safety training classes and instructional courses on how to operate various vehicles, that will take place throughout October.

“The fact that the people come from the area, live in Pennsylvania, work in Pennsylvania, they are more apt to be more responsible that the work is done safely and of high quality because they live in the area too,” said Richard Stern, administrator with the Teamsters National Pipeline Training Fund.

The Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project broke ground in September, and it is expected to be in full service by mid-2018. The project will run through 10 Pennsylvania counties: Columbia, Lancaster, Lebanon, Luzerne, Northumberland, Schuylkill, Susquehanna, Wyoming, Clinton and Lycoming.

For more information on job postings, visit teamsterspipeline.com.

Natural gas powers fall

Daylight is shorter, and there’s a chill in the air. Fall began Sept. 22, but the signs of its arrival have been subtle. There are many things associated with fall: leaves changing color, warm sweaters, comforting food and drink — and abundant, affordable natural gas.

You read that last one right. Fall wouldn’t be the same without natural gas. Here are five fall favorites we can thank natural gas for providing.

Home heating

The chill of fall air is wonderful but our homes sometimes need a little warming up, so we turn on the heat. There’s a good chance your home is heated by natural gas. Natural gas powers nearly one-third of the nation’s electrical generation, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and around half the homes in America are heated with natural gas.

Unspilled pumpkin spice latte

A pumpkin spice latte is an autumn cornerstone. Without coffee shops promoting the availability of pumpkin spice lattes, we might never know when fall begins — and you can thank natural gas for being able to enjoy this fall beverage on the go. Plastic lids used on most disposable coffee cups and the lining of many paper cups are made with natural gas byproducts.

Boots

Fall boots crunching across crinkling leaves are an autumn staple. Natural gas makes this auditory experience possible, because the rubber soles are made from natural gas byproducts.

Fertilizer

The ubiquitous flavor of pumpkin is present in many fall foods, whether it’s pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin soup or roasted pumpkin seeds. The fertilizer used for growing pumpkins is most likely a nitrogen-based product made from ammonia, which is manufactured from natural gas.

Footballs

Fall weekends belong to football, but the game wouldn’t be the same without natural gas. The ball features an interior bladder, which is made from a synthetic material derived from natural gas, that allows it to be inflated.

Enjoying fall, and natural gas, will be easier than ever when the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline is complete. Keep checking back for the latest on the project!