Illinois seeks economic revival through expanded shale gas production

From 2000-2010, Illinois lost almost a third of its manufacturing jobs — but like other so-called “Rust Belt” states determined to mount a manufacturing comeback, Illinois is making plans to leverage abundant and affordable supplies of natural gas from shale to fuel an economic revival.

In early June, the Illinois legislature overwhelmingly endorsed the production of natural gas through hydraulic fracturing, a decision expected to spur economic growth and bolster the competitiveness of the state’s manufacturing sector.

ACC has endorsed the implementation of responsible, state-based regulations for natural gas production, while emphasizing that government policy decisions will affect whether the U.S. and the states are able to realize the full benefits of natural gas.

That’s why we are pleased to see a commitment from Gov. Pat Quinn to sign the legislation, adding:

This legislation will open the door for thousands of jobs and significant economic development in Southern Illinois. It could be a shot in the arm for many communities.

In December 2012, an Illinois Chamber of Commerce study provided some exciting numbers about the economic benefits accruing from natural gas from shale, including 47,000 jobs and more than $9.5 billion in new economic output.

The study cited other states that embraced shale gas, including Pennsylvania, which added 44,000 jobs in 2009 when it began hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale, and Texas, with 47,000 jobs and nearly $25 billion in total economic impact from the Eagle Ford Shale.

Many of those jobs could be in the chemical industry and manufacturing sector.

The American Chemistry Council recently released a report that examined the economic benefits of U.S. chemical industry investments tied to robust supplies of low-cost natural gas from shale.

The renewed competitiveness of America’s chemical industry has encouraged dozens of U.S. and international companies to announce they will expand production capacity across the country.

And of the approximately 100 chemical and plastics projects totaling roughly $72 billion in potential new investment, you can one day expect to find a handful in Illinois.

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