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TOMB: Latest RGGI Lawsuit Highlights Increases in Electricity Prices

Already struggling to cope with higher energy bills, Pennsylvanians are now experiencing double-digit rate hikes this fall. In September, some suppliers increased electricity prices another 19 percent, citing inflation and energy costs. Pennsylvanians need relief, but Gov. Tom Wolf’s unilateral action will drive energy bills even higher. Worse yet, a new lawsuit highlights how Wolf’s plan—while claiming to help the environment—will, in reality, increase emissions.

Despite a majority opposition from the state legislature, Wolf is forcing Pennsylvania to participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)—a compact in which member states impose a carbon tax on energy production. By discouraging energy production in Pennsylvania, the carbon tax would shut down some of the most efficient coal and natural gas operations in the world, and a new lawsuit argues that the governor’s plan will lead to an increase in CO2 emissions.

The petitioners, all of whom operate gas-fired power plants in Bucks, York, and Westmoreland Counties, are among the dozens of businesses, labor unions, trade organizations, and politicians asking the court to stop Pennsylvania’s participation in RGGI.

Pennsylvania natural gas producers are among the cleanest in the world, as measured by methane emissions from their operations. Of the top nine hydrocarbon-producing basins in the United States, the Appalachian Basin, which includes Pennsylvania, emits the least methane per unit of energy produced.

And while U.S. coal-fired plants are among the least polluting worldwide, Pennsylvania operators have invested billions of dollars in equipment to further reduce water and air pollution. The Homer City power plant, for example, spent $750 million over the past decade on reducing pollutants.

But RGGI would undo our progress toward cleaner energy by imposing prohibitive costs on Pennsylvania energy producers.

RGGI requires power plants to purchase carbon allowances, and those have more than quadrupled in recent months. For just a portion of 2022, estimated allowance costs have risen to $847 million from the Wolf administration’s original forecast of $198 million.

“The (administration’s) modeling of the price of CO2 allowances…was wildly off base,” wrote the petitioners. “Among other failures, the (administration) did not adequately consider the impact of speculative traders, like hedge funds, purchasing CO2 allowances as an investment.”

Costs imposed by RGGI will force Pennsylvania plants to decrease energy production, opening the door for less efficient plants in non-RGGI states to replace them. Overall emissions will increase because less efficient plants must burn more fuel to produce the same amount of electricity—generating higher emissions of carbon dioxide and pollutants like sulfur dioxide.

The petitioners note that “most of the benefits…arising from Pennsylvania joining RGGI will be lost or shifted to other areas due to increased emissions in other states.”

Prior studies have confirmed that transfer of emissions from RGGI states to non-RGGI states.

Quadrupling carbon allowance prices also means that RGGI will further inflate electricity costs. Energy producers will have to pass the increase in costs to consumers.

Moderate estimates see RGGI increasing consumer electricity prices by roughly $2 billion over nine years. This is a “best-case” scenario that Pennsylvanian families cannot afford.

RGGI is currently on hold thanks to a preliminary injunction, and the petitioners are integrating their lawsuit with other cases aimed at stopping the state’s participation. Due to pending court action, it is unlikely that companies will need to purchase carbon allowances until the next governor’s term.

But Pennsylvania’s participation in RGGI—with its far-reaching consequences—shouldn’t rely on lone-wolf tactics. The state legislature has taken the first step toward introducing a constitutional amendment that would prevent any governor from unilaterally imposing regulations, like RGGI, despite legislative disapproval.

If approved by the legislature and a majority of Pennsylvania voters, this constitutional amendment could safeguard families from ineffective and expensive regulations like RGGI.

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Toomey Warns Biden Admin. Pursuing ‘Solyndra’ Policy on Green Energy

As green energy advocates poured into Pennsylvania for a green energy summit in Pittsburgh, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) was warning Keystone State businesses and homeowners: Prepare to get “Solyndra’d.”

An estimated 6,000 people rallied with President Biden’s energy secretary, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, on Wednesday, cheering her on at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh as she urged them to “Push, push, push to deploy, deploy, deploy” green energy technology. Granholm was in town to kick off the Global Clean Energy Action Forum and promote the Biden administration’s policy of pursuing net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by no later than 2050.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and former Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, who serves as Biden’s special envoy for climate, are also participating in the forum, which concludes on Friday.

Asked about the 2050 goal on a press call Wednesday, Toomey said, “It’s not a meaningful goal because they have no strategy for how we’re actually going to get there.”

Toomey said technology and innovation, not government regulation, are the path to lower carbon emissions, and he pointed to the fracking revolution as an example.

“We’ve replaced coal-fired electric power generation with natural gas-fired electric power generation, and that brought a drastic reduction in CO2,” Toomey explained. “You would think that the administration would be very pleased with that and would encourage more of that. But instead, they take this absurd notion that they have to be hostile to all fossil fuels.”

And if innovation is the solution, Toomey suggested, then government is likely to be part of the problem.

“I guarantee you the government isn’t going to figure out the technology,” Toomey said. “And the government sending out checks to politically favored companies isn’t going to get us there, any more than Solyndra did. That was a complete debacle by a previous administration.”

President Barack Obama gave $535 million in federal loan guarantees to Solyndra, a solar-panel manufacturer backed by a major Democratic donor. The company collapsed into bankruptcy not long after amid evidence the Obama administration bent the rules to approve the deal. 

In the green energy and healthcare spending bill known as the Inflation Reduction Act, Congress voted to spend a total of $362 billion in green energy subsidies, or more than 670 Solyndras.

And, Toomey added, the net impact of that spending will be negligible.

“Another thing that’s so ironic about [the Inflation Reduction Act] is it’s pitched as President Biden’s momentous and unprecedented climate bill. And the fact of the matter is, it’s going to do nothing for the climate,” Toomey said. “Don’t take my word for it. The UN uses the IPCC climate models, the gold standard for determining the effect policies will have on our climate. And if you use that model, and assume that everything Democrats passed with great fanfare is implemented as intended, the effect on the Earth’s surface temperature is less than three one-hundredths of one degree Fahrenheit seventy years from now.

“That’s essentially zero.”

In 2020, renewable energy sources generated about four percent of Pennsylvania’s electricity, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. One proposal being pushed at the Pittsburgh forum is accelerating the use of electric vehicles. As of the end of 2021, there were fewer than 27,000 EVs registered in the entire state.

“I noticed that California’s increasingly forcing people in the direction of buying electric vehicles at the very same time they’re saying ‘Oh, by the way — you can’t charge them at night because we don’t have enough electricity on the grid,'” Toomey said.

“The gross incompetence and mismanagement of this are shocking.”

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WISSMAN: PA Prospers With a Strong Energy Economy

Pennsylvanians are feeling the pinch of record-high inflation and energy costs. The global mismatch between energy demand and available supply has put upward pressure on prices, which isn’t helped by the current policy and regulatory environment.

What’s needed now to help boost supply, as well as bolster our economy and U.S. energy leadership, are policies that encourage investment in energy exploration and infrastructure build-out. And in Pennsylvania, with its abundance of shale gas, policymakers should embrace energy as part of the state’s economic competitiveness and create a climate that attracts additional investment.

Natural gas development in Pennsylvania has proven to be an economic boon for the state, bringing in billions of revenues annually, generating over $2.2 billion in impact fee funding during the last decade, supporting tens of thousands of jobs and signaling to other companies, both large and small, that they should invest here.

Natural gas and oil activity has not only contributed directly to Pennsylvania’s economy but has also boosted manufacturing, logistics, banking, construction, and many other sectors in the state – more than $78.3 billion in total economic impact.

Research has shown that every direct job in the natural gas and oil industry – over 102,000 – generated an additional 3.7 jobs in Pennsylvania. Good jobs mean family-sustaining wages that are spent on homes and at restaurants, retail stores, and small businesses.

Pennsylvania has prospered in many ways from a strong energy sector. But more can – and should – be done to ensure the commonwealth is one of the best places to do business and continues to grow its energy economy.

This year, state lawmakers advanced measures to bring more investments and jobs to Pennsylvania, while continuing to hold the line on policy proposals that could harm our state’s national standing as a top energy producer.

Pennsylvania is clearly making progress. Yet, to embrace all that Pennsylvania has to offer, we need predictable regulations and efficient permitting, as well as a business climate that keeps the Keystone State competitive.

In June, the American Petroleum Institute (API) unveiled a 10-point policy plan that would strengthen U.S. energy leadership and unleash investment in America. These policy solutions, like removing obstructions to permits for natural gas projects, accelerating liquid natural gas (LNG) exports, approving applications for new export terminals, and designating critical energy infrastructure projects, would create new energy access while avoiding harmful government policies and duplicative regulations.

These solutions offer energy producers ways to supply more American-made natural gas and oil to consumers here at home and our allies abroad–not to mention generate good jobs, increased tax revenues, and economic development.

Rather than rely on foreign regimes for natural gas and oil, we should encourage domestic production in Pennsylvania. And that starts with policymakers at every level of government supporting a statutory and regulatory framework that fosters economic development, allows Pennsylvania businesses to grow and multiply, and supports domestic energy production and infrastructure expansion.

Pennsylvania has led the way in energy production and environmental progress and has the potential to do much more.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, while natural gas production growth in the Appalachia region over the past decade has been helped by improved productivity from wells drilled, regional transportation capacity is nearly full.

Without additional pipeline capacity, access to affordable, reliable energy is limited, and so is the state’s ability to grow its energy economy. Advancing natural gas development and pipeline infrastructure could help meet the dual challenge of powering Pennsylvania homes and businesses while lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Under API’s solutions-focused policy plan, projects that support the production, processing, and delivery of energy should undergo a streamlined review and permitting process not to exceed one year.

At this critical time, with high inflation and energy prices hitting families hard, simply put, we need more energy. Ramping up energy production and completing pipeline projects doesn’t happen overnight. That is why we need smartly crafted policies that encourage investment and growth in the energy sector enacted today.

Pennsylvania-made natural gas is key to keeping our state competitive and boosting its bottom line. Consumers benefit, too, with increased access to affordable, reliable energy, and billions in new revenues that are directed to the state and communities in every corner of the commonwealth.

With the right approach, Pennsylvania can continue to build on these gains, safeguard our energy future and stimulate long-term economic growth.

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GUNASEKARA: Fetterman’s Fracking Ban is Wrong for Pennsylvania

It is pretty rare that a candidate for the United States Senate would pledge to kill one of his state’s key industries. Many would call it cold-hearted or out of touch. Some might even say it’s political suicide. John Fetterman? He’d call it a “platform.”

Just this week, comments that Fetterman made during his ill-fated 2016 run for Senate resurfaced. He said, “If we did things right in this state, we wouldn’t have fracking,” calling a critical segment of Pennsylvania’s economy “a stain on our state.”

Fetterman’s callous disregard for the Pennsylvanians who work in the natural gas industry is breathtaking. His ban would immediately upend their livelihoods, leaving them without a paycheck and with few prospects for finding work elsewhere. But the fallout would not end there.

Natural gas development has lifted up all Pennsylvanians, raising home values while attracting workers and investment to the state. One restaurant owner said that a fracking ban would be “disastrous” to her business, too. Already, Pennsylvania families are barely scraping by as inflation eats away at their paychecks month after month. To add in a fracking ban would be just plain cruel.

Fetterman is obviously wrong to advocate for policies that would cripple so many Pennsylvania families. His comments indicate a fundamental misunderstanding of energy policy. The fact is, fracking is a clean way to secure our energy future. As natural gas production and consumption increase, total U.S greenhouse gas emissions have fallen 20 percent since 2005.

Even better, fracking has repeatedly been shown to reduce energy costs — this is especially important as prices continue to spiral out of control. A 2020 study found that a fracking ban would increase annual household energy costs by over $600 per year. Another report by the University of Pennsylvania found that fracking could reduce the long-run volatility of oil prices by up to 42 percent. To leave these savings on the table for the sake of advancing an incoherent far-left environmental agenda would be malpractice.

Producing our energy at home is about more than simple economics, though. It’s imperative for our national security. Just look to Europe, where reliance on Russian gas could lead to rationing in the wake of the war in Ukraine. In an era of more intense global competition, a strong domestic energy supply will undoubtedly be critical if we are called on to defend our nation.

One might think Fetterman’s ban proposal is out of line with national Democrats. Nope. Opposition to fracking is simply another front in Joe Biden’s war on American energy. His administration has halted oil and gas leases on federal land, made production far more costly, and asked for billions in tax increases on energy producers. They brag about sky-high gas prices accelerating the “transformation” to $67,000 electric vehicles, sneering at regular folks who suffer at the pump. And instead of lowering prices at home, Biden shipped more than 5 million barrels of oil from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve overseas—including to China. Put it all together, and the average American family has seen its energy costs increase by almost $1,500 since Biden took office.

Contrast that with the record of the Trump administration, where I served. During his term, the U.S. was the largest producer of oil and gas in the world. For the first time in over 70 years, we were energy independent, ending our reliance on foreign energy imports. We pursued an “all-of-the-above” strategy, harnessing the totality of our energy resources—including oil, gas, nuclear, and renewables—to strengthen our production capacity while working to protect the environment. And gas prices barely topped $3 per gallon. We set out the blueprint for a strong American energy policy. It’s a shame the Democrats tore it up.

The bottom line? Fetterman’s fracking ban is wrong on every front, but I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised. Economic illiteracy and love for government overreach are staples of every Bernie Sanders acolyte.

Maybe Fetterman should consider that fracking isn’t the real stain on Pennsylvania — he is.

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OPINION: American Natural Gas-Driven Energy Security

Amid returning to post-pandemic normalcy, a horrific war and an energy supply crunch have had devastating effects on consumers across the globe, all against the backdrop of historical inflation.

It’s essential to understand American natural gas’s critical role in ensuring the world has access to affordable, reliable, clean energy and underpinning our national security.

Europe’s economic and energy policies fostered an environment that resulted in deep and dangerous reliance on Russian energy. The continent is now faced with soaring energy prices and significant reliability concerns. As our strategic allies desperately seek solutions, America’s energy producers are focused on safely increasing supplies to loosen Russia’s chokehold, including routing liquefied natural gas to Europe and signing strategic long-term LNG supply contracts.

But while these international partnerships are a step in the right direction to strengthening Europe’s energy security, policymakers are faced with grim choices. Germany is one step away from rationing natural gas in response to Russia’s latest actions to curtail fuel delivery. “We are in a gas crisis,” said Germany’s economy minister, Robert Habeck. “From now on, gas is a scarce commodity.”

That’s starkly different compared to the United States, where, as the world’s top oil and natural gas producer, we are much more energy secure due to the abundance of resources beneath our feet.

Additionally, having a plentiful domestic energy supply means we can share the economic and environmental benefits of American energy worldwide. In fact, the United States recently surpassed Australia and Qatar to become the globe’s top LNG exporter.

This is great for American diplomacy, domestic job creation and the environment. Amid returning to post-pandemic normalcy, a horrific war and an energy supply crunch have had devastating effects on consumers across the globe, all against the backdrop of historic inflation.

It’s important to understand the critical role American natural gas plays in ensuring the world has access to affordable, reliable, clean energy and underpinning our national security.

Europe’s economic and energy policies fostered an environment that resulted in deep and dangerous reliance on Russian energy. The continent is now faced with soaring energy prices and significant reliability concerns. As our strategic allies desperately seek solutions, America’s energy producers are focused on safely increasing supplies to loosen Russia’s chokehold, including routing liquefied natural gas to Europe and signing strategic long-term LNG supply contracts.

But while these international partnerships are a step in the right direction to strengthening Europe’s energy security, policymakers there are faced with grim choices. Germany is one step away from rationing natural gas in response to Russia’s latest actions to curtail the delivery of fuel. “We are in a gas crisis,” said Germany’s economy minister, Robert Habeck. “From now on, gas is a scarce commodity.”

That’s starkly different compared to the United States, where, as the world’s top oil and natural gas producer, we are much more energy secure due to the abundance of resources beneath our feet.

Additionally, having a plentiful domestic energy supply means we are able to share the economic and environmental benefits of American energy worldwide. In fact, the United States recently surpassed Australia and Qatar to become the globe’s top LNG exporter.

A Pew Research poll found that voters want to see more natural gas production at home to increase exports to Europe.

As the largest natural gas-producing region with the greenest environmental profile in the country, our three states  — Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia —  have the tools to solve global energy woes.

Safety, integrity and a commitment to continuous improvement are values held deeply by the members who make up our respective organizations. We’re committed to being the driver of America’s clean energy future.

After all, technological breakthroughs in our industry brought America its long-sought net energy export status for the first time since the 1950s. Not to mention that the United States has reduced emissions faster than any country in the world, thanks to the increased use of natural gas.

However, policymakers must do more to enable this American energy progress to deliver even more benefits for our economy, our people, our allies and our environment by approving needed infrastructure, expanding export capacity and increasing domestic natural gas production.

Rather than turning to American ingenuity for support, our president would instead turn to cartel leaders to stabilize the market. “Before you visit Riyadh, we invite you to visit Reynoldsville, Pa. It’s the heart of the Marcellus Shale in the state where you were born, one of the most prolific natural gas-producing regions in the world,” the energy industry leaders wrote in a recent letter to President Biden.

“Join us in one of America’s major energy-producing areas which together launched the American energy revolution that ended decades of U.S. energy scarcity and growing dependence on foreign governments,” the letter said.

Never has it been more apparent that access to affordable, reliable and clean energy is directly tied to security and quality of life. America — led by Appalachian energy — has the opportunity to take the lead in reducing energy scarcity and helping our allies discover new energy and economic growth opportunities. That is something we as Americans should take great pride in.

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PODCAST: PA’s Energy Abundance Is Good for U.S. Why Does Biden Treat It So Badly?

On this edition of the Delaware Valley Journal podcast, David Callahan, president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition talks about the benefits Pennsylvania and America get from the abundant, clean natural gas found in the Keystone State. DVJournal News Editor Linda Stein asked about PA’s different system of taxing natural gas compared to other states, and the revenue benefits from the energy sector for local governments.

And if you’re looking for a good-paying job in Pennsylvania — some with a six-figure salary — David Callahan knows who you should call!

Hosted by Michael Graham.

 

 

 

 

GOP Challenger Says Scanlon Gets Natural Gas Issue All Wrong

The Republican hoping to unseat Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Delaware/Philadelphia) thinks she and President Joe Biden are getting the natural gas issue wrong.

Republican David Galluch says he will fight to not only encourage the sector but expand it.

“We have more natural gas under our feet than Saudi Arabia has oil,” says Galluch. “Natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel there is, and if you liquefy it, it gets even cleaner.”

And, he notes, it keeps hundreds of thousands of people working across the state.

“The job multiplier for the energy sector is 18.3. That means for every one job we create in the energy sector, we create 18.3 jobs downstream,” says Galluch. “We are talking construction, manufacturing, high-skill, high-productivity, high wage enhancing employment, a lot of it union and skilled labor.”

Biden has pushed for what he calls “good-paying union jobs.” Still, the president’s critics say his energy and environment plans are threatening union jobs. Many of the workers impacted by Biden’s cancellation of the Keystone XL oil pipeline were union jobs, for example, part of a package of anti-oil and gas policies Biden put into place when he first took office.

“There is nothing wrong with investing in and developing alternative forms of energy,” said Galluch. “But if we are doing so at the expense and well-being of working families or driving up the price of fossil fuels to wean people onto different sorts of energy production, I do not think that is the right answer,” says Galluch. “Putting working families through a world of hurt in this inflationary environment more generally is not the right answer.”

Pointing to Scanlon’s voting record, Galluch added she has been against the energy sector from the very beginning.

“Not just her voting record, but even her lack of advocacy I should say for an energy producer in our own district,” Galluch noted. “Monroe Energy in Trainer supports the employment of about 9,000 people in our region and they are really being hurt by a broken regulation called the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).”

Scanlon–in office since 2019–has been endorsed by the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters, and the AFL-CIO. She voted for the Build Back Better Act, which includes multiple bans on drilling and energy development while spending more than half a trillion dollars on green energy plans.

Neither Scanlon’s office nor her campaign responded DVJ’s emails seeking comment. Galluch said he was not surprised by Scanlon’s silence.

Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Pa.)

“A representative who valued Monroe Energy’s presence in the district would have been lobbying the Biden administration to alter the terms of the RFS, but the Biden administration kept the RFS,” said Galluch. “The administration renewed it last week in its current form, which puts 9,000 of those jobs in jeopardy, so I think Congresswoman Scanlon’s lack of action and lack of public advocacy for changing the RFS says all you need to know about her stance on energy.”

Monroe Energy may not be the only thing up for debate in this election. A $6.4 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal is proposed for the city of Chester. If constructed, the plant would provide more job opportunities for working people and families in the Fifth District. Penn LNG is responsible for the project and claims the operation will be “the greenest and cleanest” export facility of its kind in the nation.

“People in the community of Chester should have a say,” Galluch noted. “We need to openly debate this, it should not be done behind the scenes, and it has to be a transparent process.”

Still, Galluch said that, “If we make the case properly” and show the economic benefits, people will see the positives of having the LNG plant.

“We know as our own energy production has been curtailed, the reliance of our allies on our foes for energy, specifically Russia, has put them in a very vulnerable position,” Galluch, a Navy veteran, said.“So, I think if we explain to people, ‘Look, there are safe ways to ensure that we do not pollute the environment, we do not make a community unsafe, that we are going to benefit from it economically, and then we’re going to benefit from it from a national perspective,’ I think people are going to see that this is a step in the right direction for us.”

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Nat Gas Fees Generate $234M as GOP Targets Dems Over Energy Policy

Pennsylvania’s tax on natural gas development generated $234 million in 2021, marking the second-largest amount ever returned to communities across the commonwealth, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) said Friday.

The natural gas impact fee has generated $2.2 billion in the last decade.

Most of the money goes to county and local governments, however some state agencies also receive funds. The money funds infrastructure, emergency response and environmental programs.

“Generating $2.3 billion in essential funding for state and local governments across all 67 counties, Pennsylvania’s unique natural gas tax is an effective policy that yields impactful results,” Marcellus Shale Coalition president David Callahan said.

Some $234.4 million will be distributed to the state and counties in 2022, with all 67 counties receiving an allotment.

“The nearly 60 percent increase in this year’s distribution is directly related to heightened activity levels and the commodity price environment, underscoring the importance of policies that encourage domestic natural gas development, transportation and use. Our members continue to be focused on responsibly developing clean, abundant Pennsylvania natural gas, which is even more important today in keeping America and our allies’ energy secure,” Callahan said.

American Petroleum Institute Pennsylvania (API PA) Executive Director Stephanie Catarino Wissman said, “Every corner of the commonwealth has directly benefitted from Pennsylvania’s impact fee. This tax on natural gas wells has generated new revenue – totaling more than $2.2 billion over the past decade – for a wide variety of environmental, conservation, infrastructure, public safety and recreation projects. The report shows how natural gas production in Pennsylvania provides hundreds of millions annually in essential revenue while strengthening our economy.”

The impact fee revenue depends on the average annual price of natural gas on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), which increased in 2021 compared to 2020, when the demand for natural gas declined due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a mild winter. Impact tax revenue reached $234 million in 2021, nearly 60 percent more than 2020, one of the highest collections since the impact tax was imposed ten years ago.

“As the demand for energy rebounds, policy certainty and long-term energy solutions are needed to help ensure that Americans have access to affordable and reliable energy,” said Wissman. “Pennsylvania’s abundant shale gas presents a unique opportunity to bolster domestic supply while funding critical infrastructure and environmental programs across the state, even in areas without natural gas development.”

This announcement comes when energy companies are under attack by the Biden administration over “excess” profits, a charge that economists dismiss.

Biden took steps to hamstring the energy companies at the onset of his administration, blocking the Keystone XL pipeline and signed executive orders to halt new oil and gas leases on public land, favoring green energy alternatives.

“Getting on a plane right now to go meet with a murderer to talk about the Saudis picking up their production, or writing a letter to the CEOs of Chevron and Exxon to say ‘super-duper large profits won’t be tolerated’ is simply inexcusable,” said economist David L. Bahnsen about Biden’s energy policy.

And while Biden has blamed high gasoline prices on Russian President Putin and the war in Ukraine, he recently pivoted to blame oil companies. But gasoline prices were at an average of $2.27 a gallon nationwide on Jan. 20, 2021 when Biden took office. On Jan. 3, a month before Putin invaded Ukraine, the national average gas price stood at $3.28 a gallon and as of Friday, the average price was $5 a gallon.

And it’s not just Biden.

Congresswoman Madeleine Dean (D-Montgomery) tweeted in March: “The price of crude oil is falling, and that should be reflected at the pump. We must be certain that energy companies are not using an unjust war to profit and price gouge.”

And in a let them eat cake moment, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said families who buy electric vehicles “never have to worry about gas prices again.”

Meanwhile, the sale price for an EV, on average, was $60,054 in February. That compared to $45,596 on average for all new vehicles, including electric ones, according to data from Edmonds.

Also, there’s the convenience factor. On a recent road trip, a Wall Street Journal reporter said she spent more time charging her rented EV than sleeping.

In a tweet that sums the situation up, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said, “The United States is blowing through its strategic oil reserves faster than expected. Gas is $5 a gallon nationally. And Joe Biden STILL refuses to drill domestically.”

The National Republican Senatorial Committee is making political hay for the 2022 midterms out of the high gas prices. They’re airing a new commercial targeting Democratic Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and Democrat John Fetterman, who is running for the Senate, linking them to Biden and the high gas prices.

The ad says Fetterman backs Biden and the Green New Deal.

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CASTOR: The Key to Unlocking Our Country’s Energy Bounty Can be Found in the Keystone State

While Texas and the other Gulf States often dominate the narrative around energy production, one of the most vital locations for domestic energy production lies in the mid-Atlantic region. Pennsylvania is home to an enormous amount of natural resources that are integral to the energy supply of our country. Despite being one of the top 10 states in natural gas, petroleum and electricity consumption, Pennsylvania is the third-largest net exporter of energy in the country. The Keystone State has also seen its gas reserves quadruple in the last 10 years, thanks to the increased development of the largest natural gas field in the U.S., the incredible wonder, Marcellus Shale.

The war in Ukraine has highlighted in neon the danger of reliance on foreign—and often hostile—nations for energy production and delivery. The Biden administration’s embargo on Russian oil, coal, and natural gas was a necessary decision in response to its invasion of Ukraine. The administration’s recent announcement that it wants to send more U.S. natural gas to Europe is the next logical step, but because of longstanding and misguided opposition to energy exports, that entire effort could be hampered by the lack of terminals for shipping the gas.

European Union leaders backed plans to buy gas jointly if the United States supplies it, but the lack of immediate infrastructure capacity (frankly, the ability) to fulfill our promise makes it all largely symbolic, unless we act now.

There is good news, however.  Learning of this strategic deficiency provides an opportunity to reinvest in America’s energy sector we should not waste. The legacy of pushing aside the oil and gas sector while simultaneously talking about the need for energy independence is inconsistent and doesn’t work.  We must seize the opportunity to strengthen our country’s economy and energy security.  Placing faith in Saudi Arabia or the UAE will not solve our energy dependence, but domestic production and infrastructure can do so.

Pennsylvania is poised for this chance. The Mariner East pipeline system currently transports natural gas liquids across the state, delivering energy across Pennsylvania and throughout the southeast. As of February 2022, Mariner East 2 and its parallel counterpart Mariner East 2x have completed the final step in the construction process and is now awaiting commissioning. These pipelines generated 9,500 construction related jobs per year over six years, as well as $122 millionin generated taxes for the commonwealth. Continued reliance on foreign energy resources going forward could never come close to producing the same amount of economic benefits as these domestically produced resources and pipelines have already proven attainable.

Pipelines are shown to be the safest, most technologically advanced method of transportation for petroleum and natural gas liquids. In order to continually verify the Mariner East pipeline system, there are certified controllers who monitor the pipeline 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In addition to these precautions, an automated system is also detects potential leaks and can shut down the pipeline automatically.

In January, two protesters temporarily halted the construction of the new pipelines when they trespassed on the property and locked themselves onto the equipment. Not only have the systems been proven to operate safely but trespassing on an active construction site increases the very risks these protestors want to limit. As foolish as these acts were then, they seem even more foolish now given the state of domestic and global affairs making increased production a strategic national security issue for all Americans and our allies.

Now is the time to invest in Pennsylvania’s natural resources and encourage new infrastructure projects as the Keystone State continued to be a driving force in our nation’s domestic energy production. The solution to our country’s energy crisis is not turning to adversarial nations abroad, nor in letting our allies rely on countries that oppose us. The answer is at home, and Pennsylvania should lead the way.

 

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CALLAHAN: Unleash American Energy’s Strength & Security

Access to affordable, clean and reliable energy is at the center of the crises unfolding across Europe and the events leading up to Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

For far too long, Russia’s leadership has weaponized their energy resources, inflicting pain on regional nations to gain political and economic influence. These vulnerabilities have been exacerbated by unrealistic policies focused on a rapid transition to renewable energy.

Given the urgency to support our European allies and the brave people of Ukraine, we must act swiftly to put in place mechanisms to combat Russia’s aggression – including leveraging America’s abundant natural gas resources.

Our European allies, who have become reliant on Russia for more than 40 percent of their natural gas due to short-sighted policy decisions, are facing supply shortages and reliability challenges which, together, are causing deep economic pain to the region. In fact, natural gas prices in Europe broke record highs this week. This dependency not only de-stabilizes Europe, but it directly funds Russia’s the war machine.

As the world’s largest producer and exporter of natural gas, America – and Pennsylvania in particular – is uniquely positioned to do even more to support our allies and their efforts to counter Russia’s hostility. We are fortunate to have such abundant resources that can meet domestic consumer demand and aid European allies.

Some progress is starting to take place in earnest. Germany, for example, is advancing infrastructure investments to enhance natural gas trade and imports from allied nations in order to weaken Russia’s grip on their energy and economic security – yet much more can and must be done, and the U.S. is well-positioned to lead.

Here at home, export facilities along the East and Gulf Coasts are shipping record levels of LNG to Europe, helping our allies access the world’s most responsibly produced natural gas. Currently, more than half of American LNG exports are Europe-bound – but we can do more.

The strength of America’s shale revolution has created the ability for us to act swiftly to help our European allies while improving the global environment and our overall energy security. This is a proven fact. Consider, other strategic U.S. allies with few natural resources of their own – such as Japan and South Korea – have been top recipients of clean U.S. LNG for the past several years. Our support has helped these countries shore up their own energy security while advancing our own national security here at home.

From a policy perspective, elected officials must prioritize solutions that boost the security of our allies as well as the climate benefits inherent to domestic natural gas. This means de-bottlenecking approvals for necessary infrastructure and working collaboratively to reduce obstacles to maximizing the development and deployment of our natural gas resources. With the right level of commitment from policymakers, we’ll make certain Russia’s ability to inflict pain is short-lived.

In fact, recent polling shows nearly three-quarters of Americans – on both sides of the political spectrum –believe natural gas should be part of our country’s energy policies.

And there’s no debate that American natural gas is the world’s cleanest and most strongly regulated. As an example, the Clean Air Task Force notes that Russian natural gas has a 65 percent higher methane intensity rate compared to ours. Furthermore, Appalachia-produced natural gas has lowest methane intensity across the entire U.S.

Some question whether America has the political will to make the right policy decisions to prioritize modern energy infrastructure. We don’t need to look to Europe as an example of how short-sighted policy has negative consequences, we need only look to New England, where state politicians have banned critical pipeline infrastructure, resulting in significant economic hardship for consumers. Their policies have directly led to a growing dependence on importing foreign natural gas – including, just a few years ago, from Russia.

Pennsylvania’s clean, abundant natural gas resources cannot alone solve Europe’s energy crisis or Russia’s malicious aggression toward allies. However, our energy resources can assist the long-term needs of Americans and our allies, providing stability to global energy markets all while improving our global environment.

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