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Major ramp-up in manufacturing attributed to natural gas prices

Manufacturers in the U.S. and around the world are embracing the biggest energy game-changer in recent memory -- the shale boom. Today, thanks to the plentiful and affordable energy solution that is natural gas, hundreds of shale-powered manufacturing projects are springing up across our nation, with outputs ranging from chemicals to steel.

One such example is Nucor Corporation, a North Carolina-based steelmaker and AEA partner.  Nucor is expanding its operations after a windfall year, and will soon open a $750 million plant in Louisiana to produce iron pellets.  With its expansion, Nucor will create a significant number of jobs in the region.

Nucor joins a growing number of manufacturers who have committed to powering their manufacturing plants with natural gas. As reported by EnergyWire, the abundance of cheaper natural gas in the U.S. will likely draw investment from overseas markets compared to European and Asian markets. Manufacturers who decide to invest here now are getting a big boost over the rest of the world.

Drew Greenblatt, president of Marlin Steel Wire Products LLC in Baltimore, expressed a similar sentiment in a House panel earlier this year:

"There has been a lot of talk about economic growth from the shale boom in parts of North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas, where new energy production is taking place, but some of the greatest benefits are filtering down to conventional factories across America, like mine.

"When I bought Marlin Steel Wire Products in 1998, we had about $800,000 in sales and 18 workers. Last year was our most successful one as a business, with more than $5 million in sales."

As the natural gas boom ramps up, the United States cannot afford to let its advantage slip away with unchecked exports -- this could jeopardize the burgeoning manufacturing renaissance. A balanced approach which considers all natural gas interests can keep the growth of jobs and industry on the right track.

See how you can take action to keep America's natural gas future bright.