Now this once-sleepy chunk of north-central Pennsylvania is a star on the map of an emerging national energy rush. Six hotels are new or being built, and about 100 companies have moved to town, sometimes so fast that the head of the local Chamber of Commerce has told executives wanting guided tours to wait.
“I’ve said, ‘Look sir, get in line,’ ” says Vince Matteo, chief executive of the Williamsport/Lycoming chamber. “Now I know people in their 20s with high school (diplomas) making $120,000 a year.”
Much of Wall Street and Washington is seized by the hope that the U.S.’s energy future will be as bright as Williamsport’s. As Americans heave a sigh of relief at gasoline prices falling back from near $4 a gallon, big new discoveries of domestic oil and natural gas hold the promise of more substantial benefits for the U.S. economy for decades to come — even the possibility of energy independence.
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