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“Natural gas is boosting the economy,” national business leader says

Virtually every day, it seems, more public officials, consultants, business leaders and economists agree that abundant and affordable supplies of natural gas are transforming America’s manufacturing sector, and the chemistry industry is a big part of why it’s making a comeback.

Harry C. Alford, co-founder, president and CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, is the most recent voice to expound on the links between the shale gas development and economic growth.

In a commentary in the Pittsburgh Courier, Alford extolled the billions of dollars invested in the production of natural gas from shale, the growth in reserve estimates and a resulting drop in prices that he said is creating jobs and “expanding manufacturing at a rate that was inconceivable a few years ago.”

The chemical industry will create much of this growth. Our latest analysis indicates chemical manufacturers are planning to invest at least $72.7 billion in 105 projects across the country.

Alford’s commentary highlighted plans by Dow Chemical, Bayer Corp., and Chevron Phillips to develop facilities on the Gulf Coast and elsewhere in the United States, saying:

[quote]All of this growth will give local, state and the federal governments billions of new dollars via payroll, corporate and property taxes. New restaurants, hotels, homes, schools etc. will be built to accommodate the new workers and their families.[/quote]

Despite the obvious economic benefits, Alford cautioned that some states might miss out on the growth opportunity by banning production of natural gas from shale. These restrictions, Alford warned, would only produce more economic success for neighboring states already enjoying the jobs and income growth owed to the production of natural gas from shale.

Alford concluded with an endorsement of increased U.S. energy exploration, both on federal lands and offshore.

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