Another pro-energy coalition has formed in the Appalachian Basin, this time bringing together chambers of commerce in eastern and western Pennsylvania, along with local labor unions, to promote and support the “timely approval for critical energy infrastructure.”

The Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance was announced Monday. Its founding members include the Washington County Chamber of Commerce, the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce, the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 66 and the Laborers International Union of North America.

“Being competitive with cities around the world is key to attracting and retaining new businesses, industries and talent to drive economic growth,” said Delaware County Chamber President Trish McFarland. “While Philadelphia has much to boast about, we still need the right infrastructure to make the greater Philadelphia region a leading energy hub.”

The Delaware County Chamber’s role in the statewide coalition is unique, especially considering that Washington County has persistently been among the state’s top areas of activity for unconventional oil and natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale (see Shale Daily, April 21). While pockets of southeast Pennsylvania have been resistant to shale development, particularly parts of Philadelphia, the city has also been exploring opportunities to increase its role as an energy center on the East Coast.

The coalition said it would aim to raise awareness for how private investment in pipelines and other energy infrastructure could strengthen the state’s economy, create jobs and increase public safety when projects “are properly designed, built and maintained.”

It said it would work through media and grassroots education efforts to help lawmakers, coalition members and the public better understand the benefits of modernizing the state’s energy infrastructure. The announcement comes as the state projects that 25,000 miles of natural gas gathering pipelines and up to 5,000 miles of transmission pipelines could be built in the state during the next decade.

Gov. Tom Wolf announced the formation of a pipeline task force last month to help the oil and natural gas industry, the state and various stakeholders collaborate on pipeline development (see Shale Daily, May 28). The task force would include representatives from state agencies, the legislature, federal and local governments, environmental groups, producers and midstream companies to develop policy guidelines and tools to assist in pipeline development.