Outreach is a critical area for trade associations to ensure that individuals understand what the association does, what industries it represents and how it impacts them directly. Part of my role at AFPM includes educating people about how thousands of products made from petrochemicals impact them each and every day.
As part of the education process, we also talk with legislators at the state and federal levels. Last week, AFPM participated in several events including the Women in Government’s Advanced Technology and Innovation Summit as well as the Council of State Governments’ (CSGs) Natural Gas Policy Academy. Women in Government is a national, non-profit, non-partisan organization of women state legislators while CSG is a nonpartisan organization that seeks to help educate state-level elected officials so that they in turn are better positioned to craft sound public policy.
Our focus at these events is not only to talk about how petrochemicals and fuels impact them and their constituents but also to talk more about the Manufacturing Renaissance going on right now in the U.S. thanks to shale. We are already seeing significant growth and planned expansion in the petrochemical sector as a result of the shale boom. Here in the U.S. as of last month, 196 projects valued at approximately $124 billion have been announced. These projects which include new factories, expansions and process changes to increase capacity, could lead to $81 billion per year in new chemical industry output and 637,000 permanent new jobs by 2023. Shale has been an absolute game changer for the industry however the window of opportunity will not be open forever. How this moves forward is going to depend on what choices are made.
Our nation needs to take advantage of the opportunities that responsible shale development offers, and having policymakers understand what is involved in every step of the process is critical in obtaining this goal. We are excited about our participation in the Women in Government and CSG events to educate state legislators about this exceptional opportunity and the steps that states can take to help restore America as a global leader in manufacturing.