Mariner East project coming at good time

It’s fair to say that in today’s intense political climate, taking a stand to a vocal minority can be challenging, especially as it concerns disparate residents across the state.

It’s a battle being waged not just here but across the country, and the consequences are real.

Consumer Energy Alliance recently put out a report that looked at the impacts that could occur if the continuing trend of denying pipeline projects, like those here in our state, continued.

It found that the Midwest/Mid-Atlantic region alone would see a 44.8 percent electricity shortfall for families and businesses who rely on a steady supply of energy.

That is why we commend the efforts of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for supporting the Mariner East 2 pipeline, which was recently granted approval for its remaining permits.

A portion of the pipeline will run through Blair, Cambria and Huntingdon counties.

This is a crucial step in the right direction that has taken nearly two and a half years to come to fruition.

After this long wait, Pennsylvania will finally be allowed to move forward with this important project and develop its energy resources to benefit communities across the state.

This permit approval is something both Republicans and Democrats can agree is an important move for the Keystone State’s future.

This pipeline project will impact the lives of thousands of Pennsylvanian families and small businesses who rely on steady, reliable energy supplies.

This project can help to reduce energy costs for these homeowners who are currently paying too much to heat their homes and for the countless manufactured goods they purchase that rely on feedstock from oil and natural gas.

The Mariner East 2 pipeline couldn’t have come at a better time.

In fact, much like the rest of the country, Pennsylvania is becoming increasingly dependent on clean-burning natural gas to meet its fast-growing energy needs.

And because it’s so important that we deliver these resources safely to protect our state’s environment, building this pipeline is the most sensible way to do so.

In addition to its environmental benefits, an astounding 30,000 construction jobs will be created by the Mariner East 2 pipeline project — filled by local Pennsylvania workers who are among the most skilled and trained in the trade.

In addition to bringing much-needed jobs, the project will help spur economic growth by generating about $3 billion into the state’s economy.

This growth means less money spent on heating homes and businesses and more money back into our pocketbooks.

Not only will our state’s energy infrastructure benefit from the approval of the remaining permits, but this project and others like it will also be a boost to retirees living on fixed incomes and people below the poverty line who are spending too much of their income to keep the lights on.

Projects like these have real, tangible impacts on everyday citizens and help to promote the ultimate goal of all our state’s leaders – improving the lives of every Pennsylvanian.

After two-and-a-half-years with input through public hearings, meetings and forums, I’m glad to see the Mariner East 2 pipeline project move forward.

While the approval of these permits deserve recognition, we must continue promoting energy infrastructure projects that will bring investment, economic incentive and stability to the families and businesses of our state.

The potential for growth is unlimited, and as Gov. Wolf said, “Pennsylvania boasts tremendous natural gas resources, and it makes sense that our residents should benefit from the assets right under their feet.”

Further development of the Utica and Marcellus shale formations will continue to provide opportunity to thousands of Penn­sylvanians just like you and me.

We just need the necessary infrastructure to transport these products to market. Mariner East 2 will do just that.

Mike Butler is Mid-Atlantic Director of Consumer Energy Alliance recently served on Gov. Tom Wolf’s Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force.