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By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – One of the key issues in the Presidential campaign is US energy policy, but the natural gas industry, at least, thinks it’s sitting pretty.

Pennsylvania is riding high on a wave of natural gas extraction, despite worries of critics and some drilling neighbors. The state yesterday announced about $200 million worth of Marcellus Shale impact fees, from which even Philadelphia got more than $1 million (see related story).

Dan Whitten of the American Natural Gas Alliance says new sources of gas have driven down the price.

“People all across the country, and Philadelphia as well, are benefiting from lower natural gas prices.  There was a study by IHS Global Insight that found that the average household is saving $926 in disposable income, thanks to lower natural gas prices.”

Whitten says both campaigns hail direct gas job-creation potential and the way those lower prices ripple through the economy.

“Both candidates come out strongly in favor of natural gas. President Obama, in his State of the Union address, in his convention speech, talked about the 600,000 jobs that are available, thanks to natural gas. It could go up to 1.6 million. Both have talked about how it can be produced safely and responsibly and provide real benefits.”

But, opponents dispute the “safely and responsibly” part.

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