Congressman Fred Keller, R-Pa., heard from representatives of Williams Energy last week during a stop in Wyoming County, also taking an opportunity afterwards to visit a natural gas compressor station.
At the Williams headquarters in Tunkhannock on Wednesday (Nov. 6), Keller participated in a closed door meeting with Williams employees, who shared their desire for him to continue advocating for pro-energy legislation in Washington, D.C.
“They’re proud of what they do, they work hard and they care about the community,” Keller said. “They really go to work every day with making a better life not just for themselves and their families, but for the people who live in the community in mind.”
In Washington, Keller said he plans to become a co-sponsor of H.R. 3893, which Congressman Bill Flores, R-Texas, introduced in July “to provide for federal and state agency coordination in the approval of certain authorizations under the Natural Gas Act, and for other purposes.”
Employees spoke to Keller about the importance of such policies that support the development of energy industries and allow companies like Williams to achieve.
While certain industry regulations remain necessary, Keller said he aims to make sure they don’t become “over-burdensome and impede development.”
Adam Brown, Williams operations supervisor, took Keller and his team on a tour of Compressor Station 605, which is located on the border of Tunkhannock and Clinton Township/Factoryville.
On the tour, Brown highlighted multiple facets of the station, which compresses natural gas before pushing it through the pipeline system.
This station was built as part of the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Project and has been active since October of last year.
“It was our largest expansion project to date,” said Managing Director of Project Outreach Mike Atchie.
The local 605 was one of two compressor stations built in Pennsylvania to help move gas into the Transco Pipeline spanning several northeastern and southeastern states.
While Atchie noted Williams’ role as a significant local employer, he also told Keller how the company remains active in the community. This includes initiatives such as United Way fundraising, plus educational opportunities with nearby high schools. Additionally, Williams’ partners with local schools such as Lackawanna College for workforce development.
Following the tour, Keller called Williams Energy a “good community partner” and said its work remains a necessity for energy needs not only in northeastern and northcentral Pennsylvania, but across the nation and for the country’s allies.
There has been a lot of discussion about affordable education in Washington, Keller said, including ideas about free college.
He believes other companies should mimic the efforts of Williams to partner with higher education institutions to help students find sustainable, well-paying employment and graduate with minimal debt.
“The government can’t give to anyone something it doesn’t first take from someone else. Ultimately, someone is paying the bill,” Keller said. “I think that Williams and some of the companies here in northeastern Pennsylvania have figured out a good method to educate individuals that are going to be entering the workforce.”
Keller added that visits like these are especially helpful when it comes to his role on the House Energy Action Team.
“Helping us develop policy as part of the HEAT team, I think it’s important to be
out here visiting the businesses in northeastern
and northcentral Pennsylvania,” he said.