In a letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal, Cal Dooley, president and CEO of the American Chemistry Council commented on the critically important (and huge) contribution shale gas drilling is having on the chemical industry in the United States. He said:
A point not made in your editorial "A Tale of Two Shale States" (July 26), or in the letters of July 29, is that natural gas is especially critical to the revitalization of chemical manufacturers, an industry that employs 784,000 Americans and supports five million additional jobs across the economy. Natural gas and its associated liquids are the primary raw materials, or feedstocks, that enable the chemical industry to create 96% of all the domestically manufactured goods Americans purchase and use daily.
A recent American Chemistry Council study found that increased production of shale gas would produce nearly 400,000 new jobs in the chemical sector and among suppliers, increase U.S. economic output by more than $132 billion and provide $4.4 billion a year in local, state and federal taxes. The chemical industry now has a huge advantage over its global competition. In 2010, industry exports increased 17%, shifting the industry’s balance of trade from a $100 million deficit to a $3.7 billion surplus. Plastics exports alone were up 10% last year. Industry leaders such as Dow Chemical and Eastman Chemical have restarted plants idled by the recession. Other companies are expected to announce expansion plans in the U.S.
America will continue to rely on and benefit from natural gas development. As a result, aggressive policies aimed at constraining supply as demand increases could undermine the growth and development of American manufacturers.*
*Wall Street Journal (Aug 5, 2011) – Shale Gas Is Helping Industry, Too