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GRASSROOTS


USA JOBS RALLY ENERGIZES CROWD, MARKS BEGINNING OF GRASSROOTS MOVEMENT


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ix weeks after launching United Shale Advocates, the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) on May 6 hosted the Pennsylvania Jobs, Pennsylvania Energy rally at the State Capitol in Harrisburg.


More than 3,000 Pennsylvanians—many of


them arriving aboard 38 buses that came from departure points all around the Commonwealth—took part in what Capitol Police called “the largest gathering on the Capitol steps in years.”


“It was an enormous success and a truly special day,” MSC President Dave Spigelmyer said. “It was so encouraging to be surrounded by that many supporters—not just operators by any stretch, but organized labor, farmers, local government leaders, small business owners, members of nonprofit organizations, the conservation community—men and women alike, marching together to celebrate how far we have come and where we are going.”


“Energy Equals Jobs! Pennsylvania Jobs, Pennsylvania Energy!” were a few of the chants heard as the crowd marched from Metro Bank Park, where the Harrisburg Senators minor- league baseball team plays, across the Susquehanna River and up Front Street to the Capitol.


“You could feel the energy in that massive crowd,” MSC Chairman Scott Roy said. “Communities that long have strug- gled over the years are beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel. This was an opportunity for members of those com- munities to celebrate the job creation they have experienced; to celebrate the billions of dollars in tax revenue, impact fees and other contributions generated for them by this industry; to cel- ebrate the improvements we’ve made to air quality and the rest of our environment, and to celebrate the feeling that comes from being part of a movement of this magnitude.”


United Shale Advocates, or USA, is a grassroots movement to give businesses, their employees, local elected officials and all Pennsylvanians who are benefiting from shale gas development a platform to show their support and come together with like- minded individuals to take action and educate their friends and neighbors about responsible shale gas development.


34 Marcellus Quarterly 2014


In addition to the on-line platform www.unitedshaleadvocates.com that gives users a way to connect with fellow advocates, hear tes- timonials and engage with their elected officials, the Pennsylva- nia Jobs, Pennsylvania Energy rally was USA’s first major public event.


“It’s been a savior for our farms, our families and our jobs in the region,” Trevor Walczak, who attended the rally and runs a fam- ily forestry company in Clifford, Susquehanna County, told the Associated Press about shale development. He also serves as vice president of the Pennsylvania chapter of the National As- sociation of Royalty Owners.


Some came to the rally to learn more from the speakers, who ranged from an elected official whose municipality—outside the Marcellus footprint—enjoys impact fees the industry pays, to la- bor union leaders whose membership is benefiting from shale- related work.


“The unemployment rate in my local went from 10 percent to no percent,” said Jim Kunz, business manager for International Union of Operating Engineers Local 66.


Drilling and related sectors are providing well-paid jobs to people who couldn’t find them a few years ago, union leaders said. Confirmed Dennis Martire, a vice president for Laborers International Union of North America (LiUNA): “The pipelines have been a lifeline for us.”


Another rally participant, David Davis, who owns a technology services company in Finleyville, Washington County, indicated he has seen the positive difference shale development has made there.


“I want to gain knowledge so I can understand what the concerns are,” Davis told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


“Until now, there hasn’t been a vehicle for folks who support our industry to engage in the education and political processes,” Spi- gelmyer said at the time of the launch. “USA will be an avenue to get information out to the public and to engage in the political processes. It’s an opportunity for folks who support shale gas development to engage in the process.”


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