As energy remains a hot topic in the headlines and on the national agenda, Marcellus Shale has proved to be a powerful source of economic revival for Pennsylvania and the regions located along the expansive, abundant shale formation, according to the Consumer Energy Alliance Mid-Atlantic.
Many communities have experienced firsthand the benefits of responsible production of natural gas, said Mike Mikus, CEA’s Mid-Atlantic director. “Domestic shale gas development has impacted communities across the nation, including Greene County,” he said.
He said Greene County is experiencing significant economic change and sweeping benefits from the increased employment, business, and revenue.
“With a growing and changing economic landscape, Greene County is not only attracting new business and investment, but also expanding in existing sectors like manufacturing,” Mikus said.
In fact, he said, manufacturing remains one of the top employment sectors for Greene County, increasing over the years from Marcellus Shale activity fueling numerous businesses in the supply chain.
Marcellus Shale development has contributed to revitalizing Greene County in many ways by boosting employment, revenue, and driving economic development.
Former Greene County Commissioner Pam Snyder is confident the Marcellus Shale will continue to be a big source of financial help to the local economy and provide enormous opportunities for job growth.
“We’ve always been known as the ‘poverty county.’ We had a terrible unemployment rate and when I became a commissioner it was in double digits,” she said. “Now, we have so many opportunities. Greene County has the opportunity to increase our tax base and provide jobs so our people don’t need to leave Greene County to find work.”
However, it appears this employment trend will continue to provide a windfall for area workers, Mikus said. A recent study by Pennsylvania College of Technology, an affiliate of Penn State University, found that by 2014, there are projected to be 10,900 Marcellus jobs in Greene County and the surrounding region.
Local colleges are even getting in on the action, creating programs to prepare the area’s workers to meet the demands of shale jobs.
Additionally, shale gas revenue is coming in from several directions and enabling the area to move forward with development projects and make long overdue improvements.
This year, Greene County will receive $69,871 in state grants to promote conservation efforts – funded by growing Marcellus Shale revenue.
Cumberland Township received $1 million, the largest municipal Marcellus Shale revenue payout in the state. William Groves, chaiman of the Cumberland Township supervisors, said the funds are a welcome surprise. “It’s certainly a pleasant problem. We’ll have to do a lot of planning to determine how we’re going to spend this.”
Meantime, townships across the county aren’t having too much trouble deciding how to spend their shale gas income, putting it toward community needs to promote safety and improve vital organizations like the Carmichaels and Cumberland Township Volunteer Fire Company.
The local fire company will use natural gas funds for a new fire truck.
Mikus also said the increased activity and business from Marcellus Shale production also has boosted housing prices. Greene County received about $600,000 last year from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency for housing renovation and development projects.
To learn more about Consumer Energy Alliance Mid-Atlantic and the benefits of shale gas, visit www.ceamidatlantic.org.