Gerard: Northeast could lower energy costs with Marcellus shale

By Patrick C. Miller | January 16, 2018

As the residents of the Northeast shiver through this winter’s cold weather and New Englanders pay some of the highest electrical rates in the U.S., Jack Gerard, president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, sees a shale gas solution nearby.

Speaking last week in Washington, D.C., at the organization’s 2018 State of American Energy event, Gerard noted that consumers in some parts of the country have benefited from pro-energy policies while others have not. In New England, he said the price consumers pay for electricity is well above the national average because of policymakers’ resistance to infrastructure development.

“This is despite the fact that they are living adjacent to abundant, affordable, reliable and clean natural gas in the Marcellus shale region,” Gerard said. “In contrast, in Ohio, electricity prices held steady or even declined even during peak demand.”

In his address, Gerard discussed how the oil and gas industry has led the U.S. “from energy scarcity to energy abundance” and helped launch the rebirth of U.S. manufacturing.

“Industry innovation and technological breakthroughs are why the U.S. is the world’s largest producer of natural gas, oil and refined products,” he said.

All this has occurred as the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions fell to near a 25-year low and CO2 emissions have gone down in 43 states, Gerard said. In addition, he pointed out that air pollutants have declined 70 percent since 1970.

All of this, Gerard emphasized, this has enabled the U.S. to become more competitive in the global marketplace. In 2017, the economy added more than 170,000 manufacturing jobs, he said.

In 2018, Gerard said API would work on energy policy issues with the Congress, the Trump administration and state, local and tribal leaders. For example, he praised the administration’s emphasis on building infrastructure to keep pace with America’s energy and manufacturing resurgence and its five-year plan to considers new areas for oil and gas development in the outer continental shelf.

 “We need policies that put consumers first,” Gerard stressed. “Policies that allow for private investment to safely build infrastructure to meet the energy demands of everyone, every time, everywhere.”

Other key energy policies in the coming year include supporting the North American Free Trade Agreement and ending or significantly reforming the Renewable Fuel Standard;

“From supporting more jobs and lower energy costs to ensuring clean air and water, energy is not a partisan issue,” Gerard said. “We share a common vision for our future: one that includes clean, reliable and abundant energy, economic prosperity and continued environmental progress.”