By accelerating the production of natural gas, America can reignite its manufacturing base and encourage foreign investment, Rep. William Cassidy (R-La.) has observed. There is no escaping the potential geopolitical fallout to the U.S. that stems from an over-weighted reliance on energy sources in political unstable areas of the world and on weak dollar policies that remain in effect, he warns.
“Let’s start moving toward a natural gas economy,” Cassidy said. “It is a domestic energy supply with proven reserves available in area of the world where we have the rule of law. Right now, we have a 40 year supply and the only reason we don’t go out and find more gas is because we have such a backlog. This is a clean fuel, which works well for Louisiana and the nation as a whole.”
There are some hard numbers that back up Cassidy’s argument.
Natural gas supplies could translate into about 35,000 jobs in Louisiana as industry mobilizes to develop these resources, according to the American Chemical Council (ACC).
Shale gas “provides the opportunity for what will be a renaissance in chemical manufacturing in the United States, and Louisiana is uniquely positioned to capitalize on that,” ACC President and CEO Cal Dooley, has said. “The $5.4 billion investment in expanded ethylene production capacity in Louisiana will generate a total of $10.9 billion in additional chemical industry output, bringing the state’s industry revenues to $56.9 billion and maintaining it as the country’s second-largest chemical-producing state.”
States such as New York and Pennsylvania, which have seen their population shrink as their manufacturing industry contracts, should be sympathetic to the idea of greater natural gas development, Cassidy suggested. He sees a potential “trifecta” at work with the right mix of policies: 1) New jobs for people who are not college educated 2) The development of a domestic energy source independent from the Middle East 3) An economic recovery rooted in an affordable, abundant, environmentally friendly energy source.