According to statistics released last week by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Pennsylvania ranked second in the nation in natural gas production in 2016, marking the fourth straight year that Pennsylvania has held this spot. Overall, the state is third in energy production and 27th in energy consumption. Pennsylvania was also the third-largest coal producing state and the only state that produced anthracite.
Locally, both Columbia and Montour Counties contribute to that energy production either directly or indirectly through energy transportation. A big upcoming project intended to increase the ability to transport natural gas is the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project by Williams, which the Columbia Montour Chamber continues to support. This new project will expand the Transco gas pipeline system with a new pipe approximately 185 miles long connecting the existing pipeline just north of Columbia County to southeast Pennsylvania. Last month, Chamber president Fred Gaffney spoke in support of the project at a Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection hearing held at Bloomsburg High School.
This project will allow for more efficient transportation of Marcellus Shale natural gas and should enable even more to be exported. Additionally, the Atlantic Sunrise project, which is scheduled to begin later this year, is expected to generate an economic impact of $85.5 million for Columbia County alone, and a $1.6 billion economic impact in all of the project’s regions.
Williams is also encouraging all workers that come into the area to work on this project to patronize local businesses. More information about the opportunities for local businesses related to this pipeline project will be available at the Chamber’s next Learn at Lunch, sponsored by PPL Electric Utilities, on Tuesday, Aug. 8, at noon at Wesley United Methodist Church. Mike Atchie from Williams will talk about the different types of opportunities for local businesses to cater to the visiting workers and give an overall update on the project at this event. The cost to attend this event is $10 for lunch and those interested can register here.