Corbett Unveils State Energy Plan For Pa

01.21.14 | Bob Price

Gov. Tom Corbett unveiled a resources guidebook Tuesday that markets Pennsylvania's business and energy sectors and its government programs, and billed it as a way to lure business people and investors to the state.

Flanked by two-year students studying diesel engine technology, Corbett released the guidebook at a news conference at Pennsylvania College of Technology's Earth Science Center near Williamsport, in the heart of north-central Pennsylvania's booming natural gas industry.

Corbett said the 73-page guide will provide business people and local government officials with information about the state's resources and programs. In it, it is billed as being full of information that demonstrates that Pennsylvania is a good place to do business, with attributes such as diverse energy sources, a skilled workforce and a competitive business environment.

"Whether from the well pad to the corner grocery store, the expansion of our energy sector has made Pennsylvanians better off and made our commonwealth really the vanguard of American energy independence," Corbett told a small audience of students and college and local officials surrounded by pieces of heavy machinery and diesel-powered trucks.

Corbett, a Republican, is running for a second four-year term in the Nov. 4 election, and a key theme of his campaign will be his efforts to improve the economy.

Some of the aspects the guide stresses are Pennsylvania's competitive retail energy markets that help lower electricity prices. It mentions that Pennsylvania's ports have the potential to export liquefied natural gas, it has helped energy projects spring up on old, unused former industrial sites and companies are planning nine natural-gas fired power plants in Pennsylvania.

It says that developing the guidebook has helped identify opportunities to capitalize on the state's energy sources. Those include supporting advancements in coal pollution-reduction technology, helping Pennsylvania become the first state in the nation to make natural gas vehicles commonplace and supporting efforts to provide natural gas to businesses and homes.

"We'll be able to give it to the various investment organizations and the community economic development organizations across the state in Pennsylvania (and say), 'Here's what you have to keep your people here or to encourage new people to grow,'" Corbett told reporters after the news conference. "Because after the cost of employees, usually what's the second-most expensive part of any business budget is energy, so we'll be able to sell that."

As an example, Corbett brought up Sanofi, the French drug maker, which has a campus in northeastern Pennsylvania. Corbett's administration has awarded millions of dollars in grants to help build a natural gas pipeline to the Sanofi campus.

The company did not have access to natural gas at its Monroe County campus and was looking leave Pennsylvania, Corbett said.

"They were actually looking to leave to lower their costs," Corbett said. "That (pipeline) is already stimulating (the) interest of other businesses now.