[Editor’s Note: Johnny Williams marks #WorldShaleEnergyDay by giving a wonderful accounting of growing up to be a writer thanks to natural gas!]
I could use this post to tell you about the national and even international benefits of natural gas. I could tell you about the financial advantages that the low cost of natural gas has had on my local communities, or the positive impact that Act 13 monies have had. But, in the sprit of World Shale Energy Day (#WorldShaleEnergyDay) I’ll tell you how it helped me directly.
I essentially owe my career to natural gas – and not even in the way you might think. When people think of careers in this industry, they generally think of welders, truckers, rig hands, etc. And, there are indeed many stories like that, and it’s great work that leads to well-paying, family-sustaining jobs.
I graduated high school in the rural endless mountains of Pennsylvania in 2008. I’ve always had an interest in writing, but in rural Pennsylvania, there’s not much of a market for that. Around the same time is when the potential of the Marcellus Shale fully began to be realized in my area. I immediately took an interest in the gas industry. But who wouldn’t? After growing up on back roads in the trees and rolling farmland, who wouldn’t want to know more about these towers of steel where they were drilling?
I started attending local meetings and doing research to learn more and, lo and behold, my local newspaper had an opening for a reporter exclusively focused on the local development of natural gas. Having done some freelance work for them before, I got the job and was instantly thrust into one of the most booming industries in the country at the time. I wrote my tail off and found myself meeting, covering and interviewing some pretty amazing people – from local business owners and entrepreneurs to state governors and even a presidential candidate.
I didn’t fully realize it at the time, but this revolutionary industry had transformed my life. I eventually went on to become staff writer at another newspaper reporting on, well, basically everything that was happening in my community, and now I manage media at a nationally-recognized animal shelter.
Natural gas has transformed many lives like mine for the better. Whether it’s at a personal level for someone’s career or livelihood, or at the national level with low natural gas heating prices, advances in technology and boosting American energy independence. And it should stay that way for years to come.
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