Pennsylvania has long been an energy exporter due to our historic strengths in traditional sources such as coal, oil, nuclear and the growing natural gas industry. These forms of energy are key products of our Commonwealth, and the production of competitively priced energy helps fuel our economy and generates employment in the Commonwealth. The PA Chamber supports balanced policies that allow producers and suppliers from all energy sectors located in our Commonwealth to compete and that enable business to secure a reliable supply of energy produced and delivered on a competitively priced basis.
2020 resulted in the sixth consecutive year that the PA Chamber and a broad coalition of statewide industries successfully defeated the Wolf administration’s ongoing calls to impose additional, punitive taxes on Pennsylvania’s natural gas industry.
Despite the myriad of financial challenges in 2020 that led some lawmakers to again target the natural gas industry for a tax hike - an industry that has continued to provide jobs across various sectors as well as clean, affordable energy during an extremely uncertain economic time.
The administration continues to promote another severance tax in order to help fund an infrastructure-focused “Restore PA” initiative. The governor’s plan – which would be funded from the start by a $4.5 billion bond that would be paid back over generations – would tack an extra volumetric-based severance tax on to the existing impact tax. Together, this combined extraction tax would be among the highest in the country, and runs the risk of driving jobs and economic opportunity out of the Keystone state.
Since 2015, the PA Chamber has been spearheading a coalition in opposition to this misguided plan. We believe that while infrastructure development should remain a priority, punitive energy taxes are NOT the best means to achieve this goal. The impact tax – which is competitive with other states’ severance taxes – has already generated nearly $2 billion since it was implemented, with a majority of the funds benefiting important community projects across all 67 Pennsylvania counties. In fact, 2018 was a record-breaking year for impact tax collections, with $252 million generated to fund many of the projects year over year that “Restore PA” would only be able to fund for a few years.
In the spring of 2018, the PA Chamber Education Foundation announced a partnership with Forge the Future, a project of Pennsylvania businesses designed to help the state advance and accelerate an energy-enabled economy based on the use of its world-class natural gas reserves. The focus of the project is to engage business and other leaders across the state to unlock the economic potential of those gas reserves by building on initial economic development ideas and direction set forth in an econometric study: Forge the Future: Pennsylvania’s Path to an Advanced, Energy-Enabled Economy. The Forge the Future analysis estimates this could mean more than 100,000 new jobs and billions in new state tax revenue as our energy and manufacturing sectors grow.
Phase 2 of the Forge the Future initiative featured the release of a second report – Ideas for Action – in the fall of 2018. This report highlights specific actions the Commonwealth can and should implement to capitalize on its world-class energy assets and grow its way to more revenue, population and job growth.
Specifically, Ideas for Action identifies four primary objectives to achieve these goals:
PA Chamber President and CEO Gene Barr issued the following statement regarding the cancellation of the PennEast project, a major regional energy infrastructure project:
On July 28, the House Environmental Resources and Energy (ERE) Committee convened to vote on sending a letter expressing disapproval of the Wolf administration’s proposed regulation joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a regional cap-and-trade program for power plants. The letter will be sent to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC), who along with the standing committees in the House and Senate and the Office of Attorney General, will review the regulation for final publication under the state’s Regulatory Review Act. The Environmental Quality Board (EQB), the rulemaking board which promulgates DEP’s regulations, advanced the rule on a 15-4 vote earlier in July. The IRRC is expected to vote on the rule on September 1.
On July 13, by a 15-4 vote, the Environmental Quality Board advanced the final-form version of a regulation that would join Pennsylvania with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI. The final regulation will next be evaluated by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) and the Office of Attorney General, and the standing environmental committees in the state House and Senate. IRRC may take the final regulation up at their next scheduled meeting on Sept. 1. Under the state’s Regulatory Review Act, the standing committees have a limited time to advance disapproval resolutions, which must be presented to the Governor for enactment and whose potential veto may be overcome with a two-thirds vote in both chambers.
PA Chamber President and CEO Gene Barr issued the following statement in regards to Pennsylvania’s burdensome regulatory environment and uncompetitive corporate tax climate driving investment out of the state:
Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Gene Barr issued the following statement in response to the Delaware River Basin Commission’s vote to ban natural gas drilling:
Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Gene Barr issued the following statement regarding Gov. Tom Wolf’s announced priorities for the 2021-22 legislative session – which include enacting an additional tax on the energy industry and a government mandated wage increase:
PA Chamber President and CEO Gene Barr issued the following statement in regards to the Senate’s passage of H.B. 2025; legislation that requires a more deliberative process with respect to the state’s potential participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
PA Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Gene Barr issued the following statement after the announcement that Dominion and Duke Energy have cancelled the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline project:
Abundant, reliable and competitively priced energy is a critically important component of a healthy business economy. Robust production, generation, transmission, retail and delivery segments in the energy sector are essential for the Commonwealth's economic development efforts and its ability to retain existing employers.
Pennsylvania has long been an energy exporter due to our historic strengths in traditional sources such as coal, oil, nuclear and the growing natural gas industry. These resources are key products of our Commonwealth, and the production of competitively priced energy helps fuel our economy and generates employment in the Commonwealth. Energy costs can be a significant portion of any business operation’s expenses and, in certain energy-intensive industries, energy costs account for more than 50 percent of total operating costs. Competitive markets have been demonstrated to have delivered significant reductions in both energy costs and emissions.
The Pennsylvania Chamber supports balanced policies that allow producers and suppliers from all energy sectors located in our Commonwealth to compete. More broadly, the state’s energy policies must enable business to secure a reliable supply of energy produced and delivered on a competitively priced basis. This can be best accomplished by the following: