June 15, 2015
By Jerry Cooper, National LaborPress
Springfield, PA., – Chambers of commerce in eastern and western Pennsylvania and local labor organizations have joined forces to launch the Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance, a broad-based coalition in support of energy development in the Commonwealth. The coalition aims to raise the profile of how private investment in pipeline and other energy infrastructure can strengthen the state's economy, create jobs, and increase public safety when projects are properly designed, built and maintained.
"Pennsylvania's natural resources give us a competitive edge in the new energy economy and deliver broad benefits for our communities, said James T. Kunz, Jr., Business Manager of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 66 which covers 33 counties in western Pennsylvania. "Local skilled workers are excited to go to work every day to build these projects safely and efficiently – a job we take great pride in."
With increasing development of the state's shale gas reserves, transporting these products, like natural gas and gas liquids, is increasingly important to the region. The members of the coalition believe the availability of low-cost fuels to heat and power homes, businesses and industries will strengthen the region's economic future and the nation's energy independence. Pipeline projects provide many direct and indirect economic benefits, including tens of thousands of construction jobs, millions in annual estimated tax revenue locally and statewide and recurring benefits to manufacturing and other industries that rely on affordable and reliable energy supplies and petrochemicals.
"LiUNA! members pride themselves in being American's builders — and in their commitment to safety," said Dennis Martire, LiUNA! Mid Atlantic Vice President. "The Commonwealth is home to more than 25,000 of our members who are helping to build infrastructure projects that are bringing new energy, job creation, and economic growth to our state and communities."