HARRISBURG –Speaker of the House of Representatives Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) today issued the following statement regarding Mayor Bill Peduto’s attack on the natural gas and petrochemical industry at a conference in Pittsburgh.
“Mayor Peduto’s comments this morning are completely disrespectful to hard-working families who want good, family-sustaining jobs. His arrogance and disdain for others knows no bounds. Grow up, Mayor. Quit engaging in your sanctimonious outbursts that reflect poorly on our entire region.
“Whether it is telling those unhappy with Downtown crime that they should just ‘go to the suburbs’ or attacking an industry critical to Western Pennsylvania’s economy, your patronizing remarks are an insult to the people of Pittsburgh and its surrounding communities.
“Thankfully, Mayor Peduto has no control over the policies of our state or wider region toward continued development of the natural gas and petrochemical industry. While he may push future growth outside of the City of Pittsburgh, there are hundreds of cities and townships throughout Western Pennsylvania that will welcome the abundance of stable, well-paying jobs offered by these firms.
“In 2015, these industries supported more than 300,000 jobs in Pennsylvania, a number that has only continued to grow. At the Shell cracker plant alone, there are more than 6,500 carpenters, electricians, ironworkers, laborers, operating engineers, and steamfitters, among other skilled trades, building one of the largest private investments in Pennsylvania history. That plant is also rehabilitating a brownfield site, one of many in our region that are well-suited to these new industrial uses.
“As a statewide leader, I will ensure that we remain welcoming to these industries and the family-sustaining jobs they provide.
“Pennsylvania was recently ranked as the most diverse state economy in America, precisely because we are hospitable to every type of business willing to invest in our communities and offer fulfilling employment to the residents of Pennsylvania, with their wide-ranging skills and backgrounds. This recent, hard-won resilience and variety stands in stark contrast to our state’s past, when too much of our economy was dependent on just a few industries.
“Pittsburgh, more than any other city in the nation, should know the danger of that over-reliance on one or two fields. While jobs in technology and renewable energy are vital to the current and future prosperity of our region, we should not repeat the mistakes of our past by relying on those industries alone.
“We certainly should not be driving away other trades based on fear, misinformation or propaganda. Mayor Peduto’s staff today also called the historic investments being made by U.S. Steel in Clairton and Shell in Beaver some of ‘the biggest threats on the horizon.’ That anti-growth mindset is irresponsible and dangerous.
“The petrochemical industry, among others, brings employment and revitalization to the more rural towns and counties that have been struggling for decades since the decline of steel, coal and other manufacturing. As state leaders – or even, one would hope, as local leaders who should care about our entire region – it is our responsibility to ensure that the future holds good jobs for families in every part of Western Pennsylvania.”
Representative Mike Turzai
Speaker of the House
Pennsylvania House of Representatives