inside sources print logo
Get up to date Delaware Valley news in your inbox

Study: Pennsylvanians See +$450B in Health Benefits from Natural Gas

The switch from coal to natural gas for power generation has reduced emissions and air pollutants, which has resulted in $450 billion to $1.04 trillion in public health benefits for Pennsylvanians.

The Marcellus Shale Coalition’s results are from data from the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and applied U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards. Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) spokeswoman said it then used EPA methods to assign a dollar value to each ton of nitrogen oxide (NOx) and sulfur oxides (SOx) reduced. Increased use of natural gas has improved air quality and helped alleviate respiratory ailments, meaning Pennsylvanians are saving healthcare costs, the group said.

The MSC’s findings come in the wake of new power plant emissions standards from the Biden administration that critics fear will jeopardize the reliability of the nation’s power grid and environmental gains by attacking natural gas generating capacity. As of 2032, baseload coal and new gas plants will be required to meet an emission standard equal to installing a carbon capture and sequestration system and running it at 90 percent efficiency.


As shale gas development became prevalent across the commonwealth and in-state natural gas electric generation increased from 5 percent to 59 percent between 2005-2022, emissions believed to contribute to respiratory ailments – NOx and SOx– are down by 81 percent and 93 percent respectively. The MSC said that yields between $7.9-$18.4 billion in NOx and $445.1 billion – $1.02 trillion in SOx cumulative public health benefits for the Keystone State.

“Pennsylvania’s energy leadership with the sustained development of clean natural gas is generating substantial benefits for our environment, economy and, as this data shows, the well-being of our communities,” said MSC President David Callahan. “Thanks to natural gas, Pennsylvanians breathe cleaner air than ever before, directly translating to improved quality of life for our residents.”

According to DEP data, between 2005 and 2022, the last year of available data, 11,127,515 fewer tons of SOx and 1,317,335 fewer tons of NOx were emitted from Pennsylvania’s electric power sector. These air pollutants are commonly associated with respiratory diseases such as asthma, pneumonia, bronchitis, and lung cancer.



“I’ve seen similar numbers of reduction throughout the entire PJM grid,” said state Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Bradford). PJM is the company that runs the regional power grid. “It reflects similar results since 2005. Carbon dioxide emissions are down by 43 percent, nitrogen oxide reduced 91 percent, and sulfur dioxide reduced 96 percent.  hose numbers are pretty impressive.”

Pennsylvanians are gaining health benefits from “the conversion to natural gas,” said Yaw, who noted so-called renewables will not keep the grid running efficiently anytime soon.

“Our electricity comes from 60 percent natural gas, 32 percent nuclear, 5 percent coal, and all renewables account for less than 3 percent, and 3 percent includes hydro,” said Yaw. “Those numbers are reflective of the benefits of natural gas. Natural gas is a necessary part (of power generation) if we are going to have any reliability.

“Renewables alone will not power our electricity grid. Those numbers are reflective of the benefits of natural gas in Pennsylvania. What we should be doing is promoting the clean energy of natural gas, exploring natural gas for both industry and electricity generation.”

Sen. Tracy Pennycuick (R-Montgomery) said, “The MSC analysis confirms what we’ve known for years: that Pennsylvania’s abundant supply of natural gas is the cleanest, most affordable, reliable fossil fuel and is less carbon intensive than other sources of energy. Pennsylvania is positioned to be a leader in energy development, production, and distribution. We must unleash our abundant supply of natural gas to further drive our economy and ensure our energy security.”

David Marks, the principal of energy consulting firm PA Energy Fuels, said, “The Marcellus Shale Coalition analysis of the benefits of burning natural gas versus coal for power generation requires a lot of number crunching.  But even without market details, we already know that natural gas burns much cleaner than coal or oil.

“And monetizing carbon emissions can be difficult, as the process is tied to moving targets: the fluctuating market value of carbon credits and the long-term effects on the health of people living in a variety of urban, suburban, and rural areas. This monetization process can also include physical carbon reduction activity including installing expensive infrastructure, identifying and realizing any tangible value including carbon capture and resale, and providing the leadership to manage this efficiently and constructively.

“Natural gas is a fossil fuel,” Marks continued, “though the global warming emissions from its combustion are much lower than those from coal or oil. Natural gas emits more than 50 percent, and up to 60 percent less carbon dioxide (CO2) when burned in new, efficient natural gas-power plants compared with emissions from a typical new coal plant. This makes natural gas a relatively clean-burning fossil fuel.

“Burning natural gas for energy results in fewer emissions of nearly all types of air pollutants and carbon dioxide emissions than burning coal or petroleum products to produce an equal amount of energy. This makes natural gas, which primarily consists of methane, the cleanest burning fossil fuel. When methane is produced from non-fossil sources such as food and green waste (renewable natural gas), it can literally take carbon out of the air.

“The United States cut its coal power use in half between 2014 and 2022, replacing it with a combination of gas, solar and wind. The decline was largely due to utilities and grid operators relying more on these more efficient natural gas power plants,” said Marks. Not only are gas-fired power plants less expensive to build and operate than coal plants, but the fuel has consistently remained low in price since the Marcellus Phenomenon.  Marcellus production has flooded the market with natural gas, forcing the price down for more than a decade.  he growth of renewable energy has also contributed to coal’s retreat, but not nearly as much as the growth of gas.”

“Natural gas costs less, burns cleaner, is less expensive for power generation, and has always been a healthier alternative to burning coal or oil,” he added.

In Pennsylvania, America’s second-largest natural gas producing state, gas use in the electric power sector led to the largest year-over-year carbon emissions decline on record. Overall, carbon emissions from the state’s power sector are down 46 percent compared to peak 2005 levels. That is equivalent to removing 12.5 million cars from the road for a year – or removing every car in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and several neighboring states combined, the MSC said.

“The undeniable consumer, environmental and energy security gains afforded by Pennsylvania’s natural gas abundance should serve as a wakeup call for those convinced natural gas should not have a role in our future energy mix,” Callahan concluded.

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or

STEIDLER: Keep the EU Out of America’s Business

The European Union, which has dismally failed to foster a business climate where tech companies can thrive, is now aiming to cripple America’s tech leaders, potentially landing a body blow to the broader U.S. economy. More distressing is that the EU is being aided and abetted in its regulatory attacks by the Federal Trade Commission.

The EU and the United States have often squared off on economic issues.

For 17 years, under four presidents, two Democrats and two Republicans, the EU and the United States were involved in a high-profile fight over aircraft manufacturing. The EU has strenuously objected to provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act, which President Biden championed. Other areas of disagreement have included agricultural products, steel, aluminum and even hard liquor.

But the mother of all EU attacks on U.S. businesses has been launched as the European Commission begins enforcing the Digital Markets Act and other measures against large U.S. tech companies. Except for one Chinese company, all the EU targets are from the United States: Alphabet (Google), Amazon, Apple, Meta (Facebook and Instagram), and Microsoft.

Among those raising protests toward the EU is a bipartisan group from the House of Representatives, 12 Democrats and 10 Republicans.

The group wrote to Biden on December 15, expressing “grave concern” as “the recent decisions by EU authorities pose serious potential damages to America’s competitiveness and security interests.” They also call out Europe’s parochial interests, saying, “The EU’s ‘digital sovereignty’ agenda has repeatedly applied one set of rules to American companies and a different, more favorable set of rules to European and foreign firms, including Russian and Chinese firms.”

Former president Barack Obama also warned against the EU’s abuse of power.

In 2015, Obama took the EU to task for having a dismal tech sector and trying to compensate for that by taking down America’s tech leaders. President Obama said, “We have owned the internet. Our companies have created it, expanded it, perfected it in ways that they can’t compete. And oftentimes what is portrayed as high-minded positions on issues sometimes is just designed to carve out some of their commercial interests.”

Unfortunately, the FTC, led by its stridently progressive chair, Lina Khan, has been working quietly with EU regulators instead of standing up for U.S. companies. Khan has made several trips to Europe to meet with regulators and address the International Competition Network, an international regulatory group.

The EU has the administration right where it wants it for taking on U.S. tech companies.

For example, on March 30, 2023, there was a meeting between Khan, the U.S. Justice Department’s Antitrust Division Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter, and Margrethe Vestager, the executive vice president of the European Commission, which enforces EU rules.

Vestager said, “Today’s meeting has proven once again how fruitful it is to keep engaging in close cooperation between the European Commission and the US competition authorities.”

To keep the United States on the sidelines as the EU goes after U.S. companies is a win for Vestager and the EU. To get U.S. support is a hefty bonus.

The stakes are high. Companies that fail to comply with the EU’s Digital Markets Act can face fines of up to 10 percent of their global revenues, or more than $150 billion from the five companies. This could hobble those companies in the United States, leading to retrenchments and even layoffs with cascading tech sector effects. It could also lead to stock market drops that harm tech-oriented portfolios and the broader equity markets.

Pandering to the EU to go after U.S. companies makes no sense. It needlessly cedes national sovereignty with no tangible benefits for the United States.

It is time for the FTC to disclose its largely secretive discussions with EU regulators, as many in Congress have already demanded. Furthermore, the FTC should cease and desist all interaction with the EU until further notice.

WISSMAN: ‘Bidenomics’ Has an EPA Problem

President Biden has been dispatching officials far and wide to tout his economic agenda, which has been rebranded as ‘Bidenomics.’ Ironically, the President’s own regulators might be the biggest obstacle to achieving the agenda’s stated goals of smart public investment, supporting the middle class, and helping small businesses thrive.

Earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed stricter limits for a pollutant called fine particulate matter (PM2.5) under the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). This proposal was issued despite concluding merely three years ago that current PM standards continue to be protective of public health and the environment, and since then, no new health or scientific information has emerged that suggests otherwise. While this initiative may sound arcane, it could have serious consequences for Pennsylvania’s economy.

Under the new standards, hundreds of counties across the U.S.— including dozens in Pennsylvania— would be in non-attainment of the PM2.5 NAAQS regulations. This means onerous permitting and regulatory requirements, expensive equipment upgrades and retrofits, and restricted funding for federal highway and transit projects, i.e., the smart public investments that constitute a pillar of the Biden agenda. To put numbers to it, the National Association of Manufacturers estimates that this new regulation threatens more than 23,000 jobs and $4.5 billion in economic activity in Pennsylvania. All of these consequences throw cold water on President Biden’s economic blueprint.

Safe and responsible development of Pennsylvania’s abundant natural gas resources has helped lower residential and commercial energy prices, created tens of thousands of jobs, and reduced our dependence on foreign nations for our energy needs. Meanwhile, revenues from the Act 13 impact fee have provided our state and local governments with billions of dollars for infrastructure projects, emergency services, and conservation programs, among other purposes. Last year alone, impact fee revenues totaled $279 million.

However, all of these immense benefits have been put at risk as EPA floods the zone with burdensome regulations designed to restrict natural gas production and limit consumers’ access to affordable and reliable energy. Unfortunately, low-income Pennsylvania residents are the ones who bear the brunt of these unnecessary policies.

But while consumers stand to lose out if the EPA gets its way, building and construction trades workers won’t fare much better. Earlier this month, Vice President Kamala Harris and acting Labor Secretary Julie Su were in Philadelphia to sell the President’s agenda to a crowd of union laborers. Their pitch boils down to yet another example of the gap between rhetoric and policies.

On the one hand, the administration is talking up the importance of creating good-paying union jobs, while on the other, proposing new regulations that risk leaving union steelworkers, pipefitters, boilermakers, electricians, welders, and operating engineers out of work. These are the middle-class jobs that President Biden wants to multiply, and they happen to be the backbone of our state’s energy infrastructure.

Importantly, it’s not just those directly employed by the energy sector and the trades that should be concerned. Pennsylvania’s natural gas is used in an array of manufacturing, transportation, and agricultural applications. From fertilizer for our farms, plastic for our consumer products, and fuel for our city buses, the natural resources we develop in our state power our nation’s—and our world’s—economy.

This should be a wake-up call to the EPA and the White House. While many analysts are praising the latest inflation data, some have correctly noted that prices for energy and food have started to tick back up. Efforts to restrict the supply of natural gas and oil could rekindle the inflationary pressures that eat into Americans’ paychecks.

One must ask if these economic and political consequences are worth it. Consider the tremendous progress our nation has made on air quality over the last 50 years. According to the EPA, our nation has reduced the concentration of NAAQS pollutants by 78% between 1970 and 2020, and PM2.5 levels have declined over 40 percent since 2000. Much of this improvement is thanks to technologies and efficiencies championed by our industries. Imposing crippling compliance costs on businesses for minimal environmental benefit is not a winning strategy.

Pennsylvania’s energy renaissance has unlocked billions of dollars for local projects, bolstered our state’s middle class, and improved the competitiveness of our manufacturing sector—all while reducing air pollution. This sounds exactly like what President Biden is trying to pitch to voters across the country. Unfortunately, his EPA’s regulatory assault could threaten these goals.

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or

‘Little to Celebrate’ in New Report on PA Jobs, Unemployment

Just days after Gov. Tom Wolf’s appearance at a White House celebration of the Biden administration’s economic policy, a new report shows Pennsylvania has one of the worst-performing job markets in the U.S.

According to the Commonwealth Foundation, a free market think tank, the Keystone State has the 8th highest unemployment rate in the nation at 4.2 percent, compared to the 3.7 percent national average. Only Delaware, Maryland, New Mexico, Nevada, Alaska, New York, and Illinois have higher jobless rates.

In addition, some 110,000 Pennsylvanians dropped out of the labor force between Jan. 2020 and Aug. 2022, the Commonwealth report said. And the state lost 108,000 payroll jobs since Feb. 2020, a whopping 189 percent decline.

“Gov. Wolf must be disappointed,” said Commonwealth Foundation Senior Vice President Nathan Benefield, the report’s author. “He recently attended President Biden’s celebration of a massive government spending bill that was misleadingly labeled an inflation-reducing bill. Unfortunately, there’s little to celebrate.

“These numbers must be a wake-up call for Pennsylvania and national lawmakers,” he said.

And, Benefield noted, the same day the White House was touting the s0-called “Inflation Reduction Act,” Consumer Price Index showed prices have risen 8.3 percent since last August. Food prices alone surged 11.4 percent year over year, the largest 12-month increase since May 1979. And the CPI for the Delaware Valley showed an 8.1 percent year-over-year increase as well.

“It’s not going away anytime soon,” Benefield added.

The Democrat and Republican candidates vying to succeed Wolf, who is in his last year in office, commented on the report.

“Josh Shapiro knows Pennsylvanians are worried right now, and he has a concrete plan to reignite our economy, spur innovation and job creation, and reduce costs for Pennsylvanians. As governor, Josh will reduce taxes, cut burdensome red tape, invest in our workforce, and put money back in Pennsylvanians’ pockets,” said a Shapiro for Pennsylvania spokesperson.

Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano’s campaign spokesman said, “The recent report from the Commonwealth Foundation only underscores what most Pennsylvanians already know — Pennsylvania’s Democrat leadership has destroyed our economy and continues to pursue a radical policy agenda that will make things worse for everyone. These facts are what Doug Mastriano’s opponent, Josh Shapiro, is hiding from. He wants to embrace the policies that produce such devastating results for working families in Pennsylvania. This election is our opportunity to make a change and save the commonwealth by electing Doug Mastriano governor.”

Benefield told the DVJournal there are various reasons people have not returned to the workforce, including generous unemployment benefits, stimulus checks, and homeschooling children.

“Pennsylvania has historically been a slower growth state,” said Benefield. “Partly because of our high tax burden and regulatory burden and business climate. So it’s not terribly shocking to see it lagging the rest of the country in some of these indicators.”

“It really is about economic freedom, the differences among states,” he said. States that did not lockdown their citizens as harshly as Pennsylvania did during the pandemic have recovered more quickly, he noted.

While Pennsylvania has abundant natural gas with the Marcellus Shale and many excellent colleges and universities, it has not taken full advantage of these resources.

For example, “in terms of getting (shale gas) to market there are some issues with pipelines,” said Benefield. The gas is “one of the things that we should embrace. It would certainly help with inflation.” Pennsylvania also needs to give some “regulatory relief” to the energy sector, he said.

And while the state’s top-notch universities draw students, there is a brain drain when they complete their education and move away, he said.

“When they graduate they look for other opportunities,” Benefield said. We are “seeing our kids and grandkids leaving the state and then it’s been an out-migration state.” Although, regionally, some residents of New York and New Jersey, where taxes are even higher move here, many Pennsylvanians have headed off to Texas, North Carolina, or Florida “where there’s been greater economic growth, “he said.

And the trend of office workers working from home rather than returning to the office has had a ripple effect on small businesses like restaurants, where sales have decreased.

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or

Despite Shortages and Soaring Prices, West Coast AGs Fight to Block Natural Gas Pipeline

California may be facing an energy shortage and rolling blackouts as a heat wave hits the state, but that is not stopping officials from trying to shut down another international pipeline.

Attorneys general from Washington, Oregon, and California are asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to deny a proposed expansion of the Gas Transmission Northwest (GTN) Express pipeline. They acknowledge the pipeline, which runs from Alberta, Canada to the Golden State, would “increase the amount of natural gas carried by the pipeline by 150 million cubic feet per day.”

But unlike energy sector observers and retail consumers warning of a natural gas shortage, those state officials – all Democrats – say the increased fuel supply is a bad thing.

The additional natural gas into the West Coast’s energy grid would “result in increased greenhouse gas emissions and downstream impacts on nearby environmental justice communities,” they argue.

GTN falls under the umbrella of TC Energy, a Canadian business and parent company of Keystone XL.

The attorneys general also claim GTN’s application “has not demonstrated sufficient evidence of a public need or that the project is in the public interest.” They even took a shot at FERC, saying an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) of the pipeline “fails to analyze these impacts” or to reconcile the expansion with state laws and policies promoting renewable energy.

“(That is) in violation of the Natural Environmental Policy Act,” they said in a statement.

Grow America’s Infrastructure Now (GAIN) said there is nothing to be concerned about with this pipeline. For starters, GAIN said the GTN pipeline currently delivers natural gas from Alberta through a pipeline that runs from Idaho to eastern Washington, through Oregon, and connects with existing pipeline networks in California. According to GAIN, the expansion project would increase capacity and allow for more clean natural gas to be distributed.

“The federal government has comprehensively reviewed the project, ultimately finding its impact would ‘not be significant,’” said GAIN spokesperson Craig Stevens. “Further, their analysis confirms the current proposed route is the best available, stating, ‘the EIS also concludes that no system or other alternative would meet the project objectives while providing a significant environmental advantage over the project as proposed.’”

Critics argue the states’ opposition to the pipeline expansion appears to be more political than environmental.

“This strikes me as a political effort that does nothing to help the environment but may risk increased heating costs,” said Todd Myers, Environmental Director at the Washington Policy Center.

Pointing to Washington and California, Myers said both have very strict CO2 emissions caps, and the protest by the attorneys general does nothing to change those.

“This effort simply changes how natural gas is delivered, not how much is allowable to be used or demanded,” said Myers. “So, this does not change the total CO2 emissions in either state and does not reduce the risk from climate change. It simply risks making it more expensive to legally heat homes.”

The attorneys general are not budging. Attorney General Rob Bonta (D-Calif.) maintains expanding the pipeline’s capacity would have significant environmental and public health impacts and is out of step with state and federal climate goals.

“FERC can’t honestly say otherwise,” Bonta said. “The reality is, when we expand gas infrastructure, it’s all too often minority, low-income, and Indigenous communities that pay the price.”

Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D-Wash.) agreed adding, “this pipeline is bad for the environment and bad for consumers.”

That is why these chief law officers claim they joined forces.

“The West Coast is experiencing very real impacts of climate change and leading the climate fight,” said Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum (D-Ore.).

Myers said the attorneys general are making contradictory arguments, something he thinks indicates they are grasping for arguments rather than addressing real risks.

“Claiming on the one hand that expanding the pipeline will increase the use of natural gas and CO2 emissions while also claiming that, in their words, “restrictive natural gas policies in the affected states” will make it hard to use the pipeline efficiently,” said Myers.

In the 19 months since President Joe Biden unilaterally canceled the Keystone XL pipeline, the political debate still rages. Biden, who campaigned on fighting climate change and transitioning the U.S. away from fossil fuels, said Keystone XL “disserves the U.S. national interest.”

Since then, global natural gas supplies have been pummeled by supply chain issues, soaring post-pandemic demand, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In Europe, businesses and families are facing restrictions on heating this winter due to Russian-imposed restrictions on the natural gas supply that has triggered a 400 percent increase in wholesale gas prices.

And yet three additional major U.S. pipeline projects, the PennEast, Atlantic Coast, and Constitution, have all been canceled in the face of lawsuits and regulatory resistance in the past two years.

Why, consumer advocates ask, would the U.S. want to restrict the flow at a time when utility costs for average families are soaring?

“American consumers continue to bear the brunt of volatile energy costs, largely driven by misguided energy policies,” Stevens said. Although prices have stabilized in recent weeks, now is the time to make investments into energy infrastructure to ensure access and affordability for consumers.”

If the attorneys general are successful, Stevens said he thinks their actions would cost the U.S. construction jobs, weaken the economy, and make the world more reliant on energy from countries hostile to the U.S.

“More broadly, it will also have a chilling effect on infrastructure investment across the nation.”

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or

MASTRIANO: Reshoring Manufacturing Jobs to Pennsylvania Will Solve Supply Chain Woes in the Long Run

The arrival of COVID-19 brought to light several underlying issues in America. But perhaps the issue that has been most exposed is our overreliance on products made outside of our borders.

International disruptions such as pandemics, natural disasters, and political upheaval significantly impact our nation’s supply chain of goods. The result of that disruption is stunted economic growth and increased prices for American consumers.

During my travels around Pennsylvania, it has been hard to ignore the abandoned factories and hallowed out towns throughout our commonwealth. Once vibrant communities were replaced with vacant lots and blight. Parents had to say goodbye to their children as they moved far away to find any kind of stable employment. Drugs usage and welfare replaced prosperity and family building.

It wasn’t always this way. Pennsylvania towns used to be a “keystone” to America’s ability to make products desired around the world. Our iron and steel once built the Golden Gate Bridge, the Hoover Dam, and the Empire State Building.

In 1999, manufacturing jobs accounted for 865,000 jobs in Pennsylvania. By 2019, that figure shrunk to 575,000.

The transition of jobs from the manufacturing sector to the service sector had a disproportional effect on men without a college degree in our commonwealth. Their lack of a degree and unique specific skillset made it difficult to find other good paying and fulfilling jobs.

Fatal foreign policy mistakes by the federal government and the failure of Pennsylvania’s state leaders to replicate pro-business polices implemented in other states were significant factors in the downfall of our manufacturing sector.

Many economic analysists point to the early 2000s as a consequential period that accelerated the decline.

Twenty years ago, the World Trade Organization made the fateful decision to admit the People’s Republic of China as member nation. The same WTO that oversees the global system of trade rules and regulations. China’s entry also granted them permanent “most favored nation” status in trade with the United States. Prior to its WTO entry, that status had to be approved on an annual basis by the U.S. Congress.

The monumental economic and political effects emanating from China’s entry into the WTO continue to reverberate today.

It opened the floodgates for foreign trade and investment into China’s markets. Most significantly, it led to China’s domination in the manufactured goods export market. China’s share of global manufacturing exports went from 4 percent in 2000 to 15 percent in 2020.

China’s advantage of an overabundant labor force, lax labor laws, and large government subsidies give them an unfair advantage when it comes to attracting companies to manufacture goods on their shores.

America’s trade deficit with China grew by over 400 percent from 2001-2018. According to a study by the Economic Policy Institute, this amounted to the loss of 3.7 million overall American jobs from 2001-2018.

While international agreements, automation, and changes in technology were factors in the decline of manufacturing in Pennsylvania, our state leaders certainly didn’t do any favors to keep the jobs we had or attract new investment.

While the manufacturing sector largely contracted in northeast states like Pennsylvania, other states adapted their business policies and found ways to attract new investment opportunities.

Ball State University’s Center for Business and Economic research conducts a comprehensive nationwide manufacturing industry scorecard every year dating back to 2009. The scorecard examines factors such as tax climate, regulatory environment, and human capital.

Every year, Pennsylvania has received a grade of “C” or worse when it comes to manufacturing health. Conversely, states like Michigan, Kentucky, and South Carolina receive an “A”.

Michigan, Kentucky, and South Carolina all saw an annual average manufacturing growth rate of 2 percent or more since 2009, according to the U.S Bureau of Economic Analysis. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania’s growth was anemic at less than 1 percent.

How do we make Pennsylvania more attractive to prospective manufacturers? Let’s start with much needed regulatory reform.

Pennsylvania was rated at No. 35 in the nation for regulatory environment, according to Forbes Best Business Ratings.  With over 153,000 regulations on the books, we have one of the most burdensome regulatory codes in the country. It would take an individual about 713 hours—or just under 18 weeks—to read the entire Pennsylvania Code.

Review, modification, and rescindment of onerous regulations can be the genesis of a manufacturing resurgence. There is a cost to every regulation. That cost is exacerbated when the regulation is no longer needed. Regulations need to be reviewed on a regular basis to determine if they continue to be needed, require modification, or require termination. By creating a consistent review schedule, the General Assembly can determine whether a regulation should be continued, modified, or terminated.

Additionally, creating a “2 for 1” model (removing 2 regulations for any new regulation) is something we should adopt here in Pennsylvania.

We also must improve our permitting process. Members of the General Assembly often hear from prospective employers who ask, why does it take so long to get a permit? Where does my permit stand? What is the holdup?

We saw this issue in practice when U.S. Steel decided to pull out of a $1.5 billion investment in the Mon Valley Works in Braddock. After delays in getting approvals and permits, US Steel called it off and the region lost out an opportunity to gain hundreds of good paying, blue-collar jobs.

Passing legislation to create a tracking system for permit applications and permit and third-party review of permit decision delays will go a long way to address concerns of business owners and bring greater transparency to the permitting review process.

We need to make our state a more attractive tax climate.  Our current Corporate Net Income Tax is the second largest in the country at 9.99 percent. For comparison, Arkansas’ corporate tax rate of 5 percent recently helped them land the most advanced steelmaking facility in North America that is expected to produce 3 million tons of advanced steel per year.

Reducing the corporate tax burden by at least 2 percent here will help us compete with other states to attract prospective manufacturers. Thankfully, it appears that this idea is starting to gain bipartisan support.

But I also believe that a corporate tax reduction should be contingent on employers agreeing to retain or attract a certain number of jobs in the commonwealth. We must ensure these companies are doing their part to invest in our people.

Will Pennsylvania’s manufacturing employment and output ever return to its heyday? Not likely.

But there are steps that our commonwealth can take now that will instantly make us a more attractive location for manufacturers to grow and invest. Pennsylvania manufacturing sector once powered America into the Industrial Revolution and helped her become the “Arsenal of Democracy” through two World Wars.

We can lead the way once again in reshoring jobs to America and stabilizing our supply chains in the long run.

PA Independent Regulatory Review Commission Votes for New Charter School Rules

In a 3-2 ruling along party lines, the Pennsylvania Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) voted Monday in favor of new charter school rules championed by Gov. Tom Wolf.

Wolf, a Democrat, welcomed the commission’s decision.

“These regulations are a vital step in clarifying charter schools’ responsibilities to the taxpayers who fund them,” Wolf said. “We were forced to take this path when the legislature refused to act on our comprehensive reform package. Charter schools received nearly $3 billion in publicly paid tuition this school year. Parents and taxpayers have a right to know how those resources are being used.”

However, others believe it will make it harder for parents who want to send their kids to charter schools.

Previously, the House and Senate education committees rejected the rules and sent the IRCC letters saying they opposed approval.

“Wolf once again acted unilaterally to circumvent the legislature,” said Nate Benefield, senior vice president of the

Nathan (Nate) Benefield is the Senior Vice President at the Commonwealth Foundation.

Commonwealth Foundation, a free-market think tank. “This ‘Lone Wolf’ strategy does a disservice to Pennsylvania voters, parents, and students.”

More than 40,000 children are on a waiting list for charter schools in the Delaware Valley region, the foundation said in a press release.

In 2020–2021, more than 170,000 students attended charter schools—an increase of almost 23,000.

Pennsylvania’s charter schools are public schools open to all students. And while charter schools serve more low-income and minority students than traditional district schools, they receive, on average, 25 percent less funding, the foundation said.

“Our governor hasn’t set foot in a charter school in seven years but insists that he knows what’s best,” said Benefield. “Instead of trying to stifle choice for families by unilaterally designing a bureaucratic labyrinth, Wolf should work with the legislature to empower parents and provide more education opportunities for every child in the commonwealth.”

Meanwhile, a study from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools showed Pennsylvania charter school enrollment rose 15.5 percent from 2020 to 2021 as public school enrollment dropped by 3.2 percent. Statewide, the number of charter school students grew to 169,252 pupils.

The Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools said the IRRC decision would hurt students.

“This regulation could result in numerous harms,” including lowered charter school tuitions, negatively impact minority operated and run charter schools, and increase the already “ballooning” waiting list,” the group said in a press release.

“Overall, the regulation could reduce educational choice options for Pennsylvania students, including the most vulnerable of minority and economically disadvantaged students. Public charter schools kept teaching our scholars during the pandemic, and recent enrollment numbers show that more and more parents are choosing charter schools.”

Jennifer Arevalo, CEO of Souderton Charter School Collaborative

The coalition slammed Wolf for reducing the money going to charter schools by $373 million in his budget request, noting that charter schools already get 25 percent less state funding than other public schools receive.

Jennifer Arevalo, CEO of the Souderton Charter School Collaborative said, “The new regulation would harm charter schools and charter students in the following two ways. The regulation will place additional requirements on new charter school applicants that extend beyond Charter School Law. While promoting a standard application, it does not limit districts from asking for more information from the applicants.

“The regulation does not resolve the redirection issue where some districts simply do not provide tuition for students who attend charter schools. This places charter schools in a precarious position of not being able to pay their bills. The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) should make districts comply with school law.”

The Wolf administration listed the regulatory changes in its statement about the approval: “Provide clear application requirements for entities seeking to open a charter school, regional charter school, and cyber charter school; ensure that all Pennsylvania students are able to access charter schools; clarify the ethics requirements for charter and cyber charter school trustees; require school districts and charter schools to follow the same fiscal management and auditing standards; streamline the process for charter schools to request tuition payments from school districts and the state; and provide a consistent, common-sense method for charter schools to meet the employee health care requirements in state law.”

Those rules must still go to the state legislature for passage or revision and then to Wolf for his signature or veto.

There are 179 charter schools and cyber charter schools operating in Pennsylvania this school year. All 67 counties in Pennsylvania have students enrolled in some form of charter school.

Follow us on social media: Twitter: @DV_Journal or

Lou Barletta Promises to Bus Illegal Immigrants to Delaware, President Biden’s Home State

If he becomes Pennsylvania governor, Lou Barletta says he will bus illegal immigrants to Delaware.

Barletta is taking a page out of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ playbook in saying he would send migrants that the federal government has been flying throughout the country to President Joe Biden’s home state.

The Florida governor recently told Fox News he was considering responding to the Biden administration’s policy of flying migrants from the U.S. southern border to states like his by sending them on to Biden’s home state.

“Our view is that if they’re going to be dumping, we want to be able to facilitate transfer to places like Delaware. And so we have $8 million in my new budget to be able to do that,” DeSantis said.

Barletta, 65, who is polling ahead of the other 14 or so candidates running for the GOP voters’ nod in the May 2022 primary, first made national headlines with a no-nonsense attitude toward illegal immigrants when he was mayor of Hazleton. He says he likes what DeSantis is doing.

“We’re a lot closer to Delaware than Florida, and it will cost us all lot less money to ship people from Philadelphia to Wilmington than it will for DeSantis to ship them from Fort Lauderdale,” Barletta told the Delaware Valley Journal podcast on Wednesday.

Barletta said that he has stayed true to his principles “his whole political career” and always did what he thinks is right, “even if it’s not politically popular.”

“When I was mayor of Hazleton, I was the first mayor in the country to stand up against the illegal immigration because it was affecting our city,” said Barletta.

It’s a matter of fairness to Barletta.

“How many millions of (legal) immigrants who are waiting, have waited, have gone through the process, have paid the price (to) bring their families here legally,” said Barletta. “And, you know, they’re watching people just cross the border and getting the same benefits…which is unfair. It’s a case of unfairness, but everybody should care.”

Barletta, who also served in Congress and ran for the Senate against Democrat Bob Casey, said that his experience in government, coupled with his background as a small business owner, has prepared him to be governor.

Barletta promised to get the state’s economy back on track.

“I would open up our economy.” Pennsylvania “was blessed with all this energy under our feet,” he said. The commonwealth has as much mineral wealth as “an entire country.”

“That’s how much energy we have that we could be exporting, but also using it to bring manufacturing here, building pipelines, which will put people to work, having all this gas under our feet and not building a pipeline is like being in college and having a keg of beer without a tap.”

Barletta would also cut taxes and regulations to bring more businesses here.

“Pennsylvania’s not business-friendly,” said Barletta. The state has “the second-highest business taxes in the country” and “our regulatory agencies are used as weapons to punish businesses right now. The DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) stands for don’t expect permits.”

Asked about the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) that Wolf is entering Pennsylvania into without the legislature’s agreement, Barletta said, “Day one, I’m repealing RGGI.”

“It’s ludicrous that we would be a state with all this opportunity here. And we would put ourselves in a consortium of other states that could care less because they don’t have it. They don’t have the energy…that we have and our country needs this energy. Look at the price of gas…Pennsylvania can be a leader and we will be a leader, and that’s going to mean a lot more jobs and a lot more opportunities.”

So far the only Democrat running for governor is Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

Meanwhile, many of the Republican gubernatorial candidates will be in Carlisle on Jan. 5 for their first debate, although Barletta will not attend any debates until after the qualifying period to be on the May primary ballot.

Among those also running: Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale; former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain; Jason Richey, a Pittsburgh attorney; Charlie Gerow, a political strategist based in Harrisburg; Guy Ciarrocchi, who is on leave as president of the Chester County Chamber of Business and Industry; Dave White, a former Delaware County councilman and small business owner; Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, who lives in Centre County; Melissa Hart, a lawyer and former congresswoman from Allegheny County; and Lancaster state Sen. Scott Martin, who also owns a small business. State Sen. Doug Mastriano of Franklin County, is also expected to run.

If he does, Mastriano may compete with Barletta for voters who support former President Donald Trump. Barletta was the first congressman to support Trump when the former billionaire businessman and TV star began his quest for office. Mastriano is a strong advocate of Trump’s contention that he lost to Biden in 2020 because of a rigged election.


Follow us on social media: Twitter: @DV_Journal or