BRYN MAWR, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Aqua America, Inc. (NYSE: WTR) Chairman and CEO Nicholas DeBenedictis said today that “Investment in energy infrastructure will enable Pennsylvania to play a key role in the energy and economic development that will assure a vibrant economic future for our country. We live in an energy-rich state and with smart and prudent infrastructure investment, we can assure a healthy economic future that includes, among other things, energy independence and living-wage jobs for residents throughout the Commonwealth.”
His remarks were made today at a symposium in Philadelphia that addressed the future economic impact of pension funding and energy development sponsored by Temple University’s Center on Regional Politics.
DeBenedictis said, “The Commonwealth has always been a rich source of energy for the world. In the days of William Penn our rich abundance of trees and timber used for building and burning were center stage. Then came coal, with the first commercially mined load of anthracite shipped down the Susquehanna River in the early 1800s. And although not well known, in 1859, the very first US oil well was drilled, not in Texas, not in California - but in Pennsylvania. This is where companies like Pennzoil and Quaker State got their start and their names.”
DeBenedictis said today, Pennsylvania and other states have the opportunity to take advantage of the natural gas bounty made possible through new technology for shale drilling. “The natural gas industry will become the biggest economic driver in Pennsylvania since the heydays of coal and steel, and along with it will come a bounty of energy careers and jobs.
“Pennsylvania is literally sitting on massive amounts of natural gas. If managed correctly, we have the opportunity to renew the energy industry in the Commonwealth and provide clean-burning, environmentally friendly fuel that can play a significant role in reducing our nation’s dependence on foreign oil,” said DeBenedictis, whose company has already made a commitment to turning over much of its vehicle fleet to compressed natural gas (CNG).
DeBenedictis said he is very impressed with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s work in creating regulations and an enforcement team to ensure that the Marcellus Shale industry is managed correctly. “When it comes to the environment, you don’t get many second chances. Today, we have the opportunity to show the world how to use this land in a way that is good for people, the economy and the earth, unlike a century or more ago when many coal companies grabbed the coal and left the land in worse shape than they found it.”
Aqua America is one of the largest U.S.-based, publicly-traded water utilities and serves almost 3 million residents in Pennsylvania, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and Virginia. Aqua America is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol WTR. Visit www.aquaamerica.com for more information.