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After Two Months, Delco Natural Gas Facility Still On Hold

An appeals court ruling has left the construction of a new Delaware County natural gas facility in limbo for months, with no clear sign as to when the project is expected to resume.

PECO Energy Company originally set out to build a natural gas “reliability station” in Marple Township several years ago. The company describes the facility as one that will “enable PECO to distribute more natural gas into Delaware County through 11.5 miles of new natural gas main.”

Company officials argued the station will play a key role in ensuring ample gas supply to Delaware County as demand grows for the key fossil fuel energy source.

Township officials in November 2020 rejected PECO’s application to build the plant, after which PECO filed a petition with the state Public Utility Commission asking for the PUC to exempt the company from township zoning rules.

The PUC subsequently ruled in PECO’s favor. Town officials then appealed to the Commonwealth Court, which halted station construction in March, claiming the commission overlooked several key regulatory considerations when ruling for the energy company.

The court said the commission must “incorporate the results of a constitutionally sound environmental impact review” into a new project analysis.

PECO spokesman Greg Smore confirmed to DVJournal that the case is still waiting to be resolved, having been sent back to the PUC for re-evaluation.

“We are disappointed with the decision,” Smore said. “However, we are evaluating our next steps to complete this project, which is critical to meeting the growing need and demand for safe, reliable, and affordable natural gas for our customers in Marple Township and across Delaware County.”

David Hixson, a spokesman for the PUC, said the case “has been reopened and assigned to the PUC’s Office of Administrative Law Judge for further consideration.”

“If further hearings are scheduled by OALJ, notices will be posted to the public docket,” he added, “but to date, no hearings have been scheduled.”

Officials with Marple Township did not respond to queries asking about the case and the township’s opposition to it. In March, after the appeals court decision, the town said in a statement that it was “pleased and encouraged” by the ruling.

“The township continues to believe that the subject property is not an appropriate site for these facilities,” the town said, “and that this will be borne out by a constitutionally sound environmental impact review by the Commission as required by the Commonwealth Court’s decision.”

For years, a citizen-created initiative, the Marple Safety Coalition, has worked against the plant’s construction. The initiative’s website was last updated shortly after the court decision in early March.

“Probably, [the ruling] means that PECO will not begin building anything soon,” one message reads. “However, they can continue to work at the site; over the winter, there was a lot of activity due to their testing of the pipeline, and that testing will probably continue.” The Marple Safety Coalition did not respond to a query from DVJournal.

Only Texas produces more natural gas than Pennsylvania, which is sitting on billions upon billions of cubic feet of the critical energy source. The U.S. Energy Information Administration says Pennsylvania has 48 underground gas storage sites, “the most for any state.”

PECO says Delaware County’s natural gas consumption is projected to surge in the coming years, necessitating more infrastructure like the reliability plant to ensure demand is met.

“PECO anticipates a 20 percent increase in natural gas usage in Delaware County and a 10 percent increase in Marple Township over the next decade,” the company says on its website.

“Without this project,” the company says, “the natural gas system in this area will be constrained, resulting in inadequate natural gas supply and pressure to help customers run their appliances, like heaters, during the coldest days of the year.”

Biden’s New Carbon Rules: ‘Massive Unemployment, General Misery’

Cheap energy drives the modern economy. Expensive energy could destroy it.

That is the concern of energy-sector experts in the Environmental Protection Agency’s move to impose strict new carbon emissions regulations on thousands of power plants nationwide.

According to a report from Reuters, the Biden administration plans to force natural gas-fired power plants to “install technology to capture carbon emissions.” The goal is to decarbonize the entire energy sector in 12 years.

“These standards could level the playing field between new gas plants and new renewable energy,” said Thomas Schuster, head of the Sierra Club’s Pennsylvania chapter, by raising the price of power generated by natural gas. Nobody is arguing the new rule will lower costs for consumers.

Gordon Tomb, a senior fellow at the Harrisburg-based Commonwealth Foundation, said the White House “ignores physical realities that make both green energy technologies and CO2-reduction methods prohibitively expensive and, at best, technologically questionable.”

“Being weather-dependent and inefficient, solar panels and wind turbines are useless for supplying large populations and industry with electricity,” Tomb said, adding that “large-scale carbon capture technology is unproven and unnecessary.”

According to the Energy Information Administration, about 60 percent of “utility-scale electricity generation” in the United States is produced from fossil fuels.

The EIA notes Pennsylvania is “the third-largest coal-producing state in the nation,” while “over half of Pennsylvania households use natural gas as their primary home heating fuel.”

The state sits upon huge reserves of natural gas, with the Marcellus Shale that runs partially through Pennsylvania “estimated to be the second largest natural gas find in the world,” according to the American Petroleum Institute.

The shale contains “approximately 410 trillion cubic feet of shale gas” that “could supply U.S. consumers’ energy needs for hundreds of years.”

The gas would likely be subject to the new EPA regulations as a fossil fuel.

“EPA cannot comment because the proposals are under interagency review and subject to change,” the agency told DVJournal in a statement. “But we have been clear from the start that we will use all of our legally-upheld tools, grounded in decades-old bipartisan laws, to address dangerous air pollution and protect the air our children breathe today and for generations to come.”

Kenny Stein, the policy director at the Institute for Energy Research, said the rules are “unlikely to survive a court challenge,” but they could “still do significant economic damage” before they are struck down.

“The rule would increase electricity costs and result in the premature retirement of dispatchable electricity sources, leaving a less reliable grid in its wake,” Stein said,

“Coal plants are unlikely to be able to comply at all, and it will be very expensive for natural gas plants to attempt to comply,” he added.

As a result, the cost of electricity for businesses and homeowners will almost certainly rise.

Daren Bakst, the deputy director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, noted that while the public does not yet have specifics on the new rule proposals, “we have a pretty good idea of what to expect.”

“The idea will effectively necessitate the use of technology that’s not feasible at this point,” Bakst said. “Any way you look at it, you’re going to be driving up energy prices. Very possibly, as a result of this rule, you’ll likely lead to the closure of power plants that may otherwise not have been closed.”

The EPA’s proposal is reportedly still being reviewed by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget. EPA spokeswoman Maria Michalos told media outlets this week that the White House is “moving urgently to advance standards that protect people and the planet … including proposals to address carbon emissions from new and existing power plants.”

Experts were not shy with dire predictions regarding the effect of the rules.

Tomb predicted the regulations would result in “massive unemployment, shortened lives, and general misery” with “no benefit.”

The AEA’s Stein added that “less reliable electricity will leave the economy at risk of blackouts or weather events” The result, he said, would be “both economic harm and lost lives.”

“This rule is charting a really reckless path that only the most blinkered ideologue could be looking forward to.”

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After Close Call at Christmas, Senators Discuss Strengthening PA Power Grid

Residents of Pennsylvania came close to facing rolling blackouts when winter storm Elliott hit the week of Christmas last year.

The effects of the storm, a “bomb cyclone,” were bad enough. Strong winds and temperatures dropping to 30 below with wind chill resulted in some 108,000 Pennsylvania households losing power.

In response, the state Senate held a hearing Monday to examine what can be done to improve the electric grid and power generation so consumers don’t suffer future blackouts. Representatives from the Public Utilities Commission, industry groups, and the power transmission utility PJM spoke.

Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Bradford) said some witnesses were using “politically correct” language. “I probably won’t be,” Yaw said. Society needs energy to build an economy, and after that, “you can deal with the environment.”

“We’ve been tinkering with the environmental side without considering the economics and operational side,” Yaw argued. Five years ago, the state had a “perfect mix” of natural gas, coal, and nuclear electricity generation. “We did not have reliability issues at all.”

But now there are political pressures to go to green energy. “I think we’re dealing with a lousy deck,” said Yaw.

Asim Haque with PJM, the region’s transmission utility, said a report that came out Friday found older power plants are not being replaced quickly enough with new sources, despite all the focus on green energy generation. As a result, customers face a very real possibility there won’t be enough electricity supply to meet demand.

“Keeping the lights on is PJM’s most important priority,” said Haque. But the mix of power generation is shifting, raising concerns about reliability. The state’s supply is moving from reliable generation sources like gas, coal, and nuclear power to less reliable solar and wind power.

He also sees the demand for electricity increasing with more data centers coming to Pennsylvania and more electric vehicles hitting the roads.

Gladys Brown Dutrieulle with the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) said, “Reliability is the key to replacing aging infrastructure.”

Natural gas provides 53 percent of the power to generate electricity in the state, nuclear energy provides 33 percent, and coal provides 12 percent. Wind and solar make up the remainder.

Diane Holder, vice president of Reliability First, said they work with agencies in 13 states and Washington, D.C. She noted wind and solar are “weather dependent” and better battery storage is needed to make power output from those sources less variable.

She said the country needs more time to transform its energy generation from current methods to renewable energy. There are also “challenges to integrating renewables onto the grid.”

Yaw said the witnesses mentioned 94 percent of new energy coming online was from wind and solar, with only 6 percent natural gas, which is more reliable.

He asked why more natural gas and nuclear plants aren’t being built. “The more we bring (renewables) online, the more we have a problem (with reliability).” More natural gas plants “would help,” he said.

Dutrieulle noted gas plants are more expensive to build and new nuclear plants are even more costly.

Yaw said that while nuclear plants don’t produce emissions, they require “tons of concrete and plastic (to build). There is a carbon footprint to everything.”

“The projections in this study indicate that the current pace of new entry (of power plants) would be insufficient to keep up with expected retirements and demand growth by 2030,” the PJM report said.

Over the past decade, Pennsylvania has benefitted from the supply of natural gas via the Marcellus Shale source. But in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the resulting increased reliance on natural gas around the world, there is more volatility in the market.

Haque added another obstacle to constructing new natural gas power plants: The ESG movement.

“ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) requirements, impact whether financing can be obtained,” Haque said. Some large financial institutions, such as BlackRock, have adopted ESG stipulations for their investments and won’t fund fossil fuels.

However, “we do assume we will receive new megawatts from natural gas,” he added.

Sen. Carolyn Comitta (D-Chester) picked up on Holder’s mention of a “great transition” to clean energy, noting that fossil fuels would still be needed during that time.

“Things are happening very quickly,” she said.

Haque said fossil fuels are “still essential.”

Rachel Gleason, executive director of the Pennsylvania Coal Alliance, said coal-powered plants stepped into the breach and saved the state from blackouts last winter.

“During winter storm Elliott, it was coal that came to the rescue again,” she said. And “unreliable wind and solar” are being subsidized and they are not required to pay fines if they do not provide the power they’ve promised. Those subsidies distort the energy market, she said.

But Andrew Williams with SolSystems said solar is part of a “comprehensive energy plan.”

“Solar works any time the sun is up,” he said. “Solar performed as needed during Elliott.” And many new data centers have solar panels on their rooftops, he said. But he admitted it will be unlikely that Pennsylvania will rely totally on renewable energy by 2035 as some people would like.

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Consumer Safety Agency Says It’s Not Coming After Your Gas Stove — Yet.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) chair has a message for America: No, we are not coming for your gas stoves. At least, not yet.

A news report from Bloomberg quoting CPSC commissioner Richard Trumka saying a ban on gas stoves and ranges is “on the table” sparked an immediate backlash. Even President Joe Biden felt the need to disavow his appointee’s statement.

“The president does not support banning gas stoves — and the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which is independent, is not banning gas stoves,” a White House spokesperson said Wednesday.

At issue are a handful of studies claiming gas stoves are a health risk. For example, a report published in the “International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health” claims more than 12 percent of current childhood asthma cases in the U.S. can be attributed to gas stove use.

Trumka now says gas stovetops are “a hidden hazard” adding, “Products that can’t be made safe can be banned.”

Now the head of the CPSC is seeking to assure American consumers that their gas appliances are safe. “The CPSC has no proceeding to do so,” said Chairman Alexander Hoehn-Saric in a Wednesday statement. But he added, “CPSC is researching gas emissions in stoves and exploring new ways to address any health risks.” And the CPSC is asking for public comment “about gas stoves and potential solutions for reducing any associated risks.”

In other words, the issue is far from settled. But if the CSPC intends to move forward, it should be prepared for a bipartisan fight.

“This is a recipe for disaster. The federal government has no business telling American families how to cook their dinner,” said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.). “I can tell you the last thing that would never leave my house is the gas stove that we cook on.”

Supporters of consumer choice and free markets dismissed the science as thin -and the response as heavy-handed.

“This debate to me seems to be totally out of proportion from the benefits that Americans have because of fuels like natural gas for cooking and the health benefits from it —  especially in relation to other options out there,” said Katie Tubb, Research Fellow at the Center for Energy, Climate, and Environment at The Heritage Foundation. “A lot of people from Africa, China, and India would love access to natural gas as a cooking fuel because the alternatives there are quite poor.”

And the American Gas Association (AGA) called the claims in the International Journal report cited by CPSC “not substantiated by sound science.”

“Any discussion or perpetuation of the allegations in this report which is funded by non-governmental organizations to advance their agenda to remove consumer energy choice and the option of natural gas is reckless,” the AGA said. The industry group also accused the authors of the study in question of “ignoring literature, including one study of data collected from more than 500,000 children in 47 countries that ‘detected no evidence of an association between the use of gas as a cooking fuel and either asthma symptoms or asthma diagnosis.’

“Any allegation that gas stoves exceed standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency and the World Health Organization is patently false.”

Climate activists have been targeting natural gas use in homes and businesses for years, in part by banning natural gas hookups in new construction. New York City has already passed such a ban, and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul hopes to do the same statewide. In California, nearly 70 communities have imposed restrictions on natural gas. In response, some 20 states have passed “consumer choice” bills preventing local governments from banning natural gas.

Cooking with hydrocarbons like gas has been common in U.S. and European households since the late 19th century. There has never been a serious concern about air quality before. Why now?

Marc Morano of Climate Depot, a project of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), said fear is what often drives a lot of government or unelected bureaucratic board efforts to find ways to reduce the use of fossil fuels.

“When it comes to cooking anything, there’s all sorts of emissions, particulate matter in your home and it comes down to ventilation, but gas stoves have not been shown to be causing any kind of health crisis,” said Morano. “This is a political decision, knowing that climate is not going to scare people, so now they are going after ‘this is going to hurt your kids so we have to ban.’”

Marc Brown, vice president of state affairs at Consumer Energy Alliance said a gas stove ban is one of the last things that families in places such as New England need at a time of high energy prices and unstable electricity. Based on that, Brown said one would think Washington would focus on making it easier to secure reliable, affordable energy.

“Instead, D.C. bureaucrats want to declare a misguided war on your kitchen by embracing fear-mongering over families—all based on a ‘study’ that is all style and no substance,” Brown said.

And far from ending the debate, the CSPC released a statement on Wednesday that explicitly left the door open for future action.

“Agency staff plans to start gathering data and perspectives from the public on potential hazards associated with gas stoves, and proposed solutions to those hazards later this year,” the commission said. “Commission staff also continues to work with voluntary standards organizations to examine gas stove emissions and address potential hazards.”

If gas stoves are banned, would gas grills at backyard barbecues follow? And where would the electricity to power these new appliances come from? More than 60 percent of U.S. electricity production is from fossil fuels, with natural gas as the number one source — and growing.

“Natural gas utilities have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by 69 percent since 1990, and they help homeowners reduce their carbon emissions 1.2 percent every year,” the AGA said. “Any efforts to ban highly efficient natural gas stoves should raise alarm bells for the 187 million Americans who depend on this essential fuel every day.”

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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.