Pennsylvania labor and industry groups expressed frustration about the Biden administration’s pause on new liquid natural gas (LNG) export terminals during a state House Republican Policy Committee meeting on the future of energy.

“The president’s pause on new LNG authorizations is clearly a political stunt orchestrated to satisfy a vocal minority of individuals who simply want to end the industry that I work in,” John Bane, EQT Corporation’s director of government affairs, told the committee on Monday. EQT is a Pennsylvania-based energy company that mostly operates in the Marcellus Shale.

American LNG exports to European countries jumped 119 percent after Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022, providing relief to European allies. And Pennsylvania business groups told the committee there’s plenty more natural gas to go around if companies are allowed to drill.

“We have more than enough natural gas to economically meet the needs of our commonwealth’s citizens while stabilizing the industry by opening new export channels,” said Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association Executive Director Carl Marrara. “Using Pennsylvania natural gas to fuel our allies is good for Pennsylvania, the United States, and ultimately the geopolitical stability of the world.”

Marrara argued the stalled $6.4 billion LNG terminal on the Chester waterfront in Delaware County would have resulted in $7.1 billion in total economic output for Pennsylvania and $714 billion in tax revenue over five years. More importantly, it would have added more than 31,000 jobs and $2.7 billion in earned labor income.

Those jobs likely would have gone to members of the Pennsylvania Building & Construction Trades Council.

Council President Rob Bair told the committee Pennsylvania workers are more suitable to lay down gas pipes in the state to keep children safe. “If it’s my kids at the bus stop, you can bet it’s going to be the best weld you’ve ever seen in your life,” he vowed. He added that workers in rural counties need the work and can do it safely.

U.S. Sens. Bob Casey Jr. and John Fetterman, both Democrats, sent the Biden administration a letter in February stating their opposition to the LNG export pause. Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro, also a Democrat, later said he hoped it would be short.

The U.S. has become the world’s largest natural gas exporter. Pennsylvania ranked second in the nation in natural gas production, behind only Texas. And the shift from coal to natural gas has been good for the environment, advocates say.

According to the International Energy Agency, coal-to-gas switching has saved around 500 million metric tons of CO2 since 2010, equal to another 200 million EVs running on zero-carbon electricity on the road over the same period.

“When you look at the data, it’s undeniable that the United States is not the problem when it comes to global emissions. We are the solution, thanks to the shale gas revolution.”

The LNG export moratorium wasn’t the only topic at the hearing. There were also warnings about the reliability of the state’s power supply as the green energy push for more electrification collides with emissions policies, pushing base load power off the grid.

“By 2032, we’re going to need an additional 27,000 megawatts of electricity,” said Bair, “and PJM, Pennsylvania, and the whole PJM grid doesn’t have any way to figure out how we’re going to make that shortfall up. What I can tell you is we’re not going to build out that much renewable energy. So, gas has to play a part in this.”

DVJournal previously reported that PJM Interconnection, the group that runs Pennsylvania’s electric grid, noted that increased demand and lack of new generation will put the grid under strain by 2028. It has said replacement generation needs to be up and running before existing generators are retired.

“President Biden and Governor Shapiro are proposing initiatives that expedite this,” said Rep. Martina White (R-Philadelphia) at the hearing. “This issue is not a partisan issue. It’s an issue for all people in Pennsylvania who want to make sure that when they go to hit the light switch, the lights go on.”