State needs natural gas infrastructure to preserve access, combat rising costs, senators say

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Pennsylvania Sens. Camera Bartolotta (R-46), Gene Yaw (R-23), and John Yudichak (R-14) joined with Jim Gallagher with Steamfitters Local 420 and Matt Toomey with the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 542 to discuss the need for natural gas infrastructure on Wednesday.

The senators said U.S. households face an increase of as much as 54 percent in heating bills this winter. Additionally, they noted that calls for a moratorium on natural gas development will cause prices to increase on all consumers and be detrimental to the environment and cost jobs across the state.

“The greatest threat to the affordable, clean, natural gas energy is not a lack of natural resources, a shortage of capable workers, or an unwillingness to adhere to environmental regulations. No. The real threat comes from lawmakers and environmental extremists who do not understand or appreciate how important the oil and gas industry is in our daily lives,” Bartolotta said. “This is not just an issue of affordability. As we saw in Texas last winter, access to energy can mean life or death.”

The lawmakers said there was not a shortage of natural gas, but a shortage of accessible gas.

“The actions of surrounding states have stalled energy infrastructure development that is vital to creating new jobs and new markets for Pennsylvania natural gas and related liquids, not only here at home, but across the northeast and world,” Yaw said. “The lack of pipeline development is also contributing to the large price disparity that is putting Pennsylvania gas producers at a disadvantage while aiding our global natural gas competitors. Our neighboring states thumb their nose at Pennsylvania gas and embrace the purchase of gas from Eastern Europe. I encourage other states to take a realistic look at where their energy needs stand and the implications of the choices they are making. Sooner or later, the lights will go out due to unrealistic energy policy.”

The price surge impacting the United States is actually much worse in Europe and Asia, which has prioritized renewable energy investments at the cost of reliable energy production, officials noted.

“The unfolding energy crisis in Europe and Asia and the higher heating costs headed our way this winter are what happens when activists and government leaders obstruct the construction of energy infrastructure,” said Gene Barr, president and chief executive officer of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry. “With our state’s massive energy resources, we should not be pleading with Russia and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to send us more energy.”

David N. Taylor, president and chief executive officer of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association, said, “If Harrisburg commits to a pro-production, pro-deployment agenda for our energy economy, Pennsylvania will create more hard-hat jobs for working people, accelerate economic growth, and lower monthly bills for consumers.”

“The most critical step at this hour is building out the infrastructure to deliver that Pennsylvania energy from where it is harvested to the downstream customers who can benefit from it: industrial, commercial, and residential,” Taylor added.