Natural gas expansion to bring jobs, opportunity to Somerset County
SOMERSET COUNTY, Md. – A new expansion project that would bring natural gas services to the Eastern Correctional Institution and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore could put Somerset County back on the map.
“Somerset County is one of only three Maryland counties, out of 24, without access to natural gas,” said Chesapeake Utilities Commercial & Industrial Accounts Manager, Jared Shelton.
According to Chesapeake Utilities officials, allowing ECI and UMES to operate off of natural gas instead of propane and fuel oil would have a major impact on the environment.
“Eastern correctional institutions CO2 emissions will be reduced by an estimated 65%. University Maryland Eastern Shore’s CO2 emissions were reduced by 38%, All totaled is like removing the equivalent of 11,000 vehicles from the road.
Officials say the pipeline that would provide the natural gas would extend from Eden all the way through Westover. Which means residents and businesses along that line would have access to the low-cost service, making Somerset County a more attractive place to live.
“Time and time again we hear of industries looking at places to relocate, build a base for business, and when natural gas is not available when they can’t check that box, they’re just not interested,” said Shelton.
“This could have such a tremendous impact on attracting industries, businesses, and just people in general,” said the Somerset County Economic Development Commission Executive Director, Daniel Thompson.
Officials say the county would also be reaping the benefits of this expansion for at least a decade.
“$76 million in construction spending in Somerset County area, 1,500 new job construction jobs, and increase in economic activity,” said Shelton.
And it could be a game-changer for the entire state.
“This is not only an opportunity, this is vital for the state of Maryland to take advantage of what will be an economic development boom potentially here on the shore,” said Bill Chambers, the President, and CEO of the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce.