If you’re like most Americans, you probably don’t spend much time thinking about where your energy comes from. We turn a dial on our stove and the gas is there. We flip a light switch and the power turns on. It’s as simple as that, right?
Unfortunately, not. Highly complex infrastructure is required to feed our nation’s growing appetite for reliable, affordable energy. Some pieces of infrastructure, like electric transmission lines, are easy to see. Other pieces of infrastructure, like underground pipelines, aren’t quite as noticeable. They’re out of sight, out of mind.
One major infrastructure project that has the potential to benefit millions of Americans is the multi-billion dollar Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project, which aims to connect abundant, cost-effective natural gas supplies in Pennsylvania with consumers all along the East Coast.
Here are five reasons why you should care about this project, and how you can show your support.
1. Energy Independence
The U.S. recently surpassed Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world’s top producer of petroleum and natural gas. As a result, U.S. oil imports are dramatically falling. The production gushing from America’s shale oil and gas deposits will create true energy independence, but that can’t happen without much needed pipeline capacity – especially in Pennsylvania where the Marcellus Shale is expected to provide more than half of the country’s natural gas by 2020.
2. Supports PA Jobs
If you don’t work in the energy industry in Pennsylvania, chances are you know someone who does. This incredible pace of gas development has pumped tens of billions of dollars into the Keystone State’s economy, supporting more than 300,000 jobs and saving state and local governments $19 billion in 2012-2013. Pipeline infrastructure projects like Atlantic Sunrise are vital to sustaining the economic momentum that Pennsylvania is currently enjoying.
3. Local Economic Benefits
According to researchers at the Pennsylvania State University, the Atlantic Sunrise project could pump approximately $1.6 billion into state and local economies and support as many as 8,000 jobs during the one-year construction period. On top of that, the ongoing operation of the pipeline would generate an impressive $1.9 million in annual economic impact.
4. Access to Lower-Cost Energy
Natural gas originating in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale typically trades at half the cost of natural gas sourced from other North American supply basins. The problem is that without adequate pipeline infrastructure, most consumers won’t realize the full economic advantages of this abundant, domestic resource. Consumers would have saved approximately $2.6 billion in energy costs from 2012-2014 had the Atlantic Sunrise project been in place, according to researchers at the Pennsylvania State University.
5. Environmental Benefits
Natural gas is the cleanest burning fossil fuel. During the past five years, electric generation form coal as fallen one-third due to the popularity of natural gas. As a result, CO2 emissions levels have dropped to 20-year lows. As additional pipeline infrastructure increases access to cost-effective gas supplies, a growing number of industries are converting to natural gas and contributing toward the improved air quality.
Your support is important for our country and community to realize the full benefits offered by the Atlantic Sunrise project. Although the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is the key regulatory body that ultimately determines if the project is approved, the agency does value public comments – especially those from stakeholders located in the project area.
Visit our Atlantic Sunrise Action Center to learn more about how you can express your support for the project and U.S. energy independence. It’s a quick and easy way to share comments to FERC, as well as other elected officials who play an important role in the pipeline review process.