Republicans Urge Pennsylvania Governor to Unleash State’s Immense Gas Reserves

Pennsylvania House Republicans are urging Democrat Governor Tom Wolf to unleash the state’s natural gas stores as energy costs soar around the world.

Lawmakers are looking at the instability of the European energy markets and calling for an increase in domestic supplies.

The largest natural gas reserve in the United States is mostly underground, in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

“If our region was its own country, we’d be the eighth largest natural gas producing country in the world,” Dan Weaver, president, and executive director of the Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association said in a statement.

That includes Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio.

In one of many actions signifying an intentional move to renewable energy sources like wind and solar, Democrat President Joe Biden signed an executive order on his first day in office to stop the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Without pipeline infrastructure, it’s tough to move large amounts of natural gas.

“U.S. West Coast refineries rely on imports of light sweet crude oil from other countries, including Russia, because access to U.S. produced light sweet crude oil is challenged by geography, transportation, and logistics,” a recent posting at the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers website says.

Resistance to pipeline construction is costing the United States its energy independence.

“For us to shut down or condemn producing oil and natural gas here in the United States, where we can control the environmental standards, and to ask for oil from other countries that don’t have the same stringent standards as we do, is ludicrous,” Weaver said.

“They shut down a pipeline on day one, and then six months later basically say, to people that don’t like us very much, would you send us more oil?

“We have the ability to be completely energy independent, right under our feet, and still have the ability to help our allies in Europe by sending [liquified natural gas] over to them.”

The XL Pipeline is not the only roadblock to U.S. energy independence.

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Republican state Rep. Stan Saylor will soon introduce a resolution to ask New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and New Jersey Gov. Patrick Murphy to end their states’ policies banning the construction of any new natural gas pipelines.

Policies that Saylor says have walled off Pennsylvania’s natural gas from accessing markets in New England and forced New England states to rely on liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports from foreign nations, including Russia.

“Not only have anti-energy policies from President Joe Biden down to blue-state governors resulted in increased costs to consumers, but they mean that we as a country are helping to finance Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked war on Ukraine through oil and natural gas imports,” Saylor said in a statement.

“It’s unconscionable and outright shameful.

“I also urge Gov. Tom Wolf to call his fellow blue-state governors and urge them to reverse their pro-Putin pipeline bans.

“Our response, as a commonwealth and as a nation, to Russia’s aggressions toward a sovereign country must go beyond lighting up buildings in blue and gold and pulling Russian vodka from liquor store shelves.”

In addition to Saylor’s pending resolution, 15 Pennsylvania House Republicans signed a letter Tuesday demanding Wolf does everything in his power to support the growth and proliferation of Pennsylvania’s natural gas and energy.

“You know of our immense potential, yet the State has been hamstrung by regulation, bans, time-intensive permitting, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and further taxation, while you support energy means that cannot possibly power the needs of the 21st century,” the letter says.

“We must, through voice and actions, develop the energy resources we have and encourage their use by all who share our values and need our energy to carry and support them into a free and prosperous future.”

It calls the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s request to stop selling Russian-produced liquors a meek show of solidarity with the Ukrainian people with little effect on the Russian government and suggests that Pennsylvania could have a meaningful impact on world events today.

“Just as the shallow oil and gas wells of Pennsylvania fueled the allies of the first World Wars, we should currently make use of our advanced production methods and technologies to provide LNG and other resources to Europe and abroad.

“Instead of Russian LNG tankers entering American ports and the ports of our allies, we should be exporting LNG to our friends across the world.”

The letter asks Wolf to join the legislature in making “an actual impact on the situation in Europe.”

They ask Wolf to urge New York and New Jersey to allow construction of new natural gas pipelines and to call for an end to the natural gas development moratorium within the Delaware River Basin, something Wolf has supported in the past.

“If we truly care about the environment and our future energy, economic, and climate needs we would invest in domestic production instead of turning a blind eye to the standards of the Russian tundra,” the letter says.

“If anything, we and our neighboring states should ban importation of Russian sourced energy instead of making energy extraction, production, and transportation more difficult within our borders.”

“You must encourage the extraction and refinement of our resources for the betterment of the free world. End your crusade against fossil fuels and recognize the gift of energy and production that exists beneath our feet.

“We sincerely request that you join us in our efforts to ease the lives of the citizens of this State, the people of this nation, and of our allies abroad.”

The letter was written by state House Republican Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, chairman of the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, and signed by state Reps. Mike Armanini, Stephanie Borowicz, Bud Cook, Joseph Hamm, Lee James, Ryan Mackenzie, Joshua Kail, Tim O’Neal, Jason Ortitay, Kathy Rapp, Tommy Sankey, Paul Schemel, Perry Stambaugh, and Ryan Warner.

It was also sent to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

The Wolf administration spent part of Tuesday kicking off National Problem Gambling Awareness Month in Pennsylvania, and announcing “initiatives to improve health care for birthing people and children through the perinatal period.”

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By Nick R. Hamilton

Nick has a broad background in journalism, business, and technology. He covers news on cryptocurrency, traditional assets, and economic markets.

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