May 20, 2014
Today, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held an oversight hearing
on “American Energy Jobs: Opportunities for American Manufacturing.”
This hearing examined the growing job opportunities in the manufacturing sector made possible by America’s energy renaissance that’s being fueled by increased energy production.
American manufacturing is experiencing a renaissance as companies relocate operations and create jobs in the United States. A significant driver of this economic development is the abundant supply of affordable natural gas. It’s estimated that by the end of the decade unconventional oil and natural gas production will create almost 3.3 million jobs. In order to maintain this growth, it is essential to maintain a robust domestic energy production industry and policies prohibitive to domestic energy production must not be enacted.
“Natural gas is a feedstock for the manufacturing of petrochemicals which are then used as a foundation for the production of plastics, medicine and medical devices, appliance, computer parts, materials for the armed forces, and communication and transportation equipment,” said Subcommittee Chairman Doug Lamborn (CO-05). “With the increasing attractiveness of the U.S. manufacturing environment, the United States is truly on its way to becoming a center of global manufacturing. However, we cannot take this economic growth for granted as these benefits are not guaranteed. It cannot be ignored that this growth is largely attributed to energy production on state and private land.”
Witnesses who testified at today’s hearing offered their firsthand accounts of how increased production of natural resources like natural gas is creating increased job opportunities in America’s manufacturing sector.
Toby Mack, President & CEO of the Energy Equipment and Infrastructure Alliance, delivered a clear message to the Subcommittee that shale energy development is “creating and sustaining many thousands of jobs in manufacturing, construction, and related services and support industries that provide the equipment, infrastructure, services, and supplies required by shale energy operations.” Mack noted that the “shale energy supply chain sectors are flourishing and the outlook is strong for continued growth in employment and production” but cautioned that “government action restricting shale energy production could undermine the viability of this sector. Policymakers must protect public health, safety, and the environment, while ensuring policies that allow the shale energy sector to continue to grow and prosper.”
Chris Jaskiewicz, President & Chief Operating Officer of VEC Inc. representing the National Electrical Contractors Association, echoed Mack’s testimony on the benefits of developing America’s domestic energy resources. “While it has been over 40 years since the end of the steel era, the oil and natural gas boom in the Midwest has revived and modernized the region’s economy and is creating new job opportunities that are here to stay,” said Jaskiewicz. He added that “the new economy in these areas is creating new job opportunities” offering new “hope” to America’s manufacturing sector.
Josh Lowrey, Senior Vice President of FORGE USA, spoke of specific examples where America’s natural energy resources are transforming not only the manufacturing sector but almost every facet of America’s economy. He offered this anecdote to illustrate the broad scope of the benefits of increased energy production. “The steel worker in Pennsylvania doesn’t just work at the mill, he makes the raw material that becomes a blowout preventer. The machinist in Ohio doesn’t just make precision parts, he makes the fluid end block for a Frack Pump. The metal stamping company in Kansas isn’t just making sheets of metal, but more importantly, the warm, sage, cab for drillers to work in on rig sights. The circle is endless. Truly!”
Carol Williams, Special Advisor to the Dow Chemical Company, spoke on the importance of America’s energy renaissance noting that the “U.S. is at the forefront of a global energy revolution. This new abundance is powering a U.S. manufacturing resurgence that has resulted in domestic and foreign investments and thousands of new jobs.” Williams added that this energy revolution is “transforming” Dow Chemical’s operations and “powering a remarkable manufacturing renaissance that has generated more than 120 manufacturing projects valued at $110 billion of announced investment and created thousands of jobs.”
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