During a press conference last Tuesday, Pennsylvania House Republicans announced a series of legislative measures to empower Pennsylvania’s energy producers to meet new oil and gas demands.
PA House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre, is proposing legislation to divest Pennsylvania of any Russian financial assets in which the Commonwealth may be invested. His legislation would divest the Commonwealth’s holdings in the PA Treasury and pension funds from investments that are connected to the Russian government and its critical supporters.
“As calls to stop the import of Russian petroleum products echo through Europe and the United States, gas-producing areas need to do their part to step up,” Benninghoff said during the press conference. “And while President Biden and other world leaders are looking to countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia — countries that do not share our values — to increase production and make up the difference, they really should be looking to places like Pennsylvania.”
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Stan Saylor, R-York, urged the governors of New York and New Jersey to allow pipeline capacity to get Pennsylvania natural gas to neighboring states in a cost-effective manner. Saylor noted that as the nation’s second-largest natural gas producer, Pennsylvania is ready to meet the demands of consumers across the country. In terms of oil production, according to the last report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Pennsylvania produces 20,000 barrels of crude oil per day, totaling 7.3 million barrels per year.
State Rep. Jim Struzzi, R-Indiana, outlined his proposal to stop Pennsylvania’s entry into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. In December, the legislature passed a disapproval resolution that would have blocked a new regulation allowing the state to join RGGI, bur Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed it in January. The PA Chamber supported legislative efforts to disapprove the resolution, noting in its memo of support that outstanding concerns with respect to costs, leakage and impacts to manufacturing were not appropriately considered in the final rulemaking.
During the press conference, Struzzi said that the RGGI “will only prevent us from playing a major role in severing energy ties and reliance on Russia as we forge a path to energy independence.”
State Rep. Jonathan Fritz, R-Wayne, discussed legislation that would allow the Delaware River Basin Commission to open the river basin to gas drilling and exploration and reform how the commission does business.
Rep. Clint Owlett, R-Bradford, is proposing legislation to end the Governor’s moratorium on subsurface leases of state land to boost production.
Rep. Greg Rothman, R-Cumberland, offered a perspective from his service in the U.S. Marines Corps during the Cold War and the need to take Russian aggression head-on and substantively marginalize Russian President Vladimir Putin with all that Pennsylvania has.
House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee Chairman Daryl Metcalfe, R-Butler, commented on his resolution that would urge President Joe Biden to end Russian oil and gas imports into the U.S.
State Rep. Josh Kail, R-Beaver, discussed his proposal to stop advocacy organizations from accepting donations from foreign entities.