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Hogan wrong to block natural gas pipeline

Maryland’s recent rejection of a natural gas pipeline that would create good-paying local jobs and provide families and small businesses with affordable, American energy is deeply disappointing (“Maryland Board of Public Works votes down ‘fracked gas’ pipeline through Western Maryland,” Jan. 2). Unnecessarily preventing more clean-burning natural gas to meet the country’s growing energy needs makes little economic or environmental sense.

Last year, Gov. Larry Hogan — despite banning strongly-regulated hydraulic fracturing — supported a plan focused on expanding critical energy infrastructure and natural gas access for Maryland consumers. In Pennsylvania, safe natural gas production and new pipelines are enhancing our air quality and helping families save $1,200 annually on their energy bills.

Maryland is benefiting from the Cove Point natural gas export facility, which Governor Hogan said will “bring both economic and environmental benefits to” the state. So why would Maryland ban a pipeline that would deliver a clean, affordable fuel source that currently heats half of the state’s homes?

Maryland’s top environmental regulator said early last year that the opponents’ “goal is block any pipeline” and that it’s “just ridiculous” to suggest that Maryland can’t invest in “a safe and growing gas industry.” The U.S., in fact, has emerged as the world’s top natural gas and oil producer while also cutting greenhouse gas emissions more than any other nation thanks to natural gas.

When anti-energy “Keep It In the Ground” activists drive policy outcomes, our economy and working families feel the pain. Look no further than a new U.S. Chamber of Commerce report which tallies up the movement’s harm: $92 billion in domestic economic activity prevented; 730,000 job opportunities eliminated; and $20-plus billion in tax revenue missed out on by governments.

Commenting on the study, Terry O’Sullivan, general president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, said “the obstruction we’re seeing from activist groups is costing our members jobs and the entire country opportunities.” Mr. O’Sullivan is right. Families, small businesses and their environment should not be denied the benefits of American natural gas.

David Spigelmyer, Pittsburgh, Pa.

The writer is president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, a regional natural gas trade association.

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