Last week, energy experts came together from their homes and offices to communicate their thoughts on energy policy and petrochemical production at the first Think About Energy webinar.
The webinar was moderated by George Stark and featured the following speakers:
- Tom Gellrich, Founder of Topline Analytics
- Greg Kozera, Director of Marketing for Shale Crescent USA
- Carl Marrara, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association (PMA)
The panelists agreed that the health and safety of Pennsylvanians is the top priority until it is determined that the pandemic has passed. The shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care providers and first responders was a recurring theme, reinforcing the need for more petrochemical plants in the state.
According to Gellrich, 70 percent of investment in petrochemical production here is by foreign companies. “They know that they have to be present in the U.S. if they are going to participate in global markets,” he stated.
And more than 70 percent of the demand for the petrochemicals overlaps this same area. “Everybody knew that the U.S. was producing all this gas, but they didn’t know that 85 percent of it was coming from here,” Kozera said in reference to the tristate region. “We have the economic advantage in our backyard,” Kozera remarked.
“The manufacturing of these products should and could have their footprint in Pennsylvania,” Marrara concurred. “It is more important now than it has ever been.”
The PMA and state legislators are looking at House Bill 1100 as the means to entice corporate investments for natural gas plants in Luzerne and Clinton counties. Similar tax credit legislation attracted a Shell ethylene cracker plant to Beaver County in western Pennsylvania.
While HB1100 passed in the house and the senate, Governor Tom Wolf vetoed the bill. The original vote numbers would have over-ridden the governor’s veto, but panel members agreed that now is not the time to readdress the bill.
The next steps toward bringing HB1100 back to the table once the COVID-19 pandemic has passed, said Marrara, are Learn, Promote, and Advocate. “Take resources available at the PMA website and spread them around. Rather than thinking about breaking through the noise, be the noise.”
“We’re looking at a conversation that started prior to the epidemic,” Stark agreed. “This is leading Pennsylvania to an opportunity to reboot our economy when we get to the other side. We can have all of the plastics necessary and get them to the first responders.”
“We couldn’t control having the virus come, but now we have the opportunity for manufacturing in mass. And we can do it economically,” Kozera remarked. “If our domestic industry goes away, so does our economy. We can’t control today, but we can make an impact on the future.”
Please join us for a special Think About Energy webinar tomorrow, April 16 from 12pm-1pm. This time, we shift from our usual energy discussion to focus on the needs of our community due to COVID-19. Click here to register.