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May 21, 2024

House Republican leaders ask Wolf to reconsider ‘poor’ energy policy choices

House Republican leaders are urging Gov. Tom Wolf to reconsider the commonwealth’s energy policies to better position Pennsylvania as an energy leader in the U.S. and abroad.

Pennsylvania House Speaker Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster; House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre; and Majority Caucus Secretary Martina White, R-Philadelphia, wrote a letter to Wolf, outlining how “poor policy choices” are affecting the state and the situation in Ukraine.

“Never before has the interplay of energy policies, geopolitics and the security of our nation’s allies been more evident than it is right now in Europe. Poor policy choices that hindered development of reliable energy sources combined with a historic dependence on brutal dictatorships for energy have manifested in the impending threat of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” the trio wrote Thursday. “The perfect storm in Europe has led to tremendous price volatility, economic disruption, and serious concerns that millions of people will not have access to the life-sustaining energy resources they need.”

House Republicans drew parallels between the crisis in Ukraine, which centers on Russia supplying energy to Europe, and policies in Pennsylvania, both of which could be addressed with changes to the commonwealth’s energy policies, they argued.

“The opposition of your gubernatorial colleagues in New York and New Jersey, for example, has stymied construction of pipelines necessary to transport affordable, abundant and clean-burning natural gas to schools, hospitals, homeowners and businesses,” the Republicans wrote. “And the consequences are real as earlier this month, consumers in New England were paying nearly six times the amount as Pennsylvania consumers for natural gas – and too often, because of these unnecessary restrictions, they have been dependent on getting this natural gas from Russia and the Caribbean, rather than right here at home.”

Republican lawmakers pointed to national policies in play, as well, specifically citing the Biden administration’s opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline and support for Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Germany.

“As the second largest gas producer in the nation, Pennsylvania is in a unique position to aid our European allies. We have abundant resources to both meet and expand our domestic utilization, while also fueling our allies that for too long have been subject to the political, military and economic whims of Russia. We can, however, have a positive and profound impact on the world stage if we exercised leadership and willpower to get it done,” Republicans wrote.

“By being proactive, we could both strengthen our international allegiances as well as our own national security.”

The letter comes amid a years-long dispute between Republicans in the General Assembly and the Wolf administration over the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cap-and-trade program designed to lower emissions from the state’s fossil-fuel burning power plants. Wolf has worked to join RGGI through executive action as part of his plan to address climate change, while Republicans have opposed the measure over predicted energy price increases and massive job losses.

Republican leaders urged Wolf in their letter to consider four key priorities they argue will benefit Pennsylvania and U.S. allies by boosting energy exports: collaborating with industry leaders and trade unions to identify projects to enhance exports; streamlining permitting for production and infrastructure such as pipelines, storage, processing and refining, as well as port facilities and manufacturing capabilities; leveraging the Department of Community and Economic Development’s international business development staff to connect with demand in Europe; and to strategize with federal and international officials to “meet the energy needs of our allies and diffuse growing tensions.”

“It is past time the commonwealth stopped apologizing for its abundant energy resources and rather, start marshalling them as strategic assets that will strengthen our national security and standing on the international stage,” House leaders wrote. “We are asking you to sit down with members of the General Assembly majority to discuss how to put into action the steps outlined … as well as additional steps to maximize Pennsylvania’s potential to be a natural gas leader.”

This article was originally posted on House Republican leaders ask Wolf to reconsider ‘poor’ energy policy choices

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