Lawmakers Propose Drilling Expansion, End of RGGI | News, Sports, Jobs
Amid his gubernatorial campaign, Sen. Doug Mastriano is proposing a more expansive energy independence bill than those introduced in recent weeks.
Mastriano, R-Adams/Cumberland/Franklin/York, and Sen. Scott Hutchinson, R-Butler/Clarion/Forest/Venango/Warren, introduced Senate Bill 1219 on Thursday. The bill, they said, is written to increase natural gas production and investment, reduce regulation and licensing, open new state lands for natural gas production, and officially remove Pennsylvania from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Republicans fought tooth and nail against Pennsylvania’s entry into RGGI, and Mastriano’s bill is the latest attempt to pull the state out of RGGI after the state entered the deal in April. .
“With our abundant resources, Pennsylvania should be largely insulated from the volatility of energy costs,” said Mastriano. “Cumbersome regulations, permitting delays and misguided restrictions cripple the potential of our energy sector. Many companies simply choose to invest in more energy-friendly states. Market volatility is not going away anytime soon. It is time to act now to assert energy independence.
Past proposals for energy independence have used Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a reason for action this year. Mastriano and Hutchinson are no different, claiming in their legislative memorandum that the invasion of Russia was fueled in part by oil and gas revenues that were spent on weapons and military equipment.
“War, sanctions and international effects on energy prices have reminded us of the importance of cultivating our own national resources,” Hutchinson and Mastriano wrote in their memoir. “With our abundant resources, Pennsylvania should be largely insulated from energy cost volatility. The burden of taxes, regulations and restrictions handicaps the potential of our energy sector. Many companies simply choose to invest in more energy-friendly states like Texas and West Virginia.
The senators propose requiring a report from the State Department of Environmental Protection) to the General Assembly on all applicable rules and regulations affecting the natural gas and coal industries and the respective economic impact of each regulation. It also requires legislative approval for any new regulations that affect the natural gas and coal industries.
Hutchinson and Mastriano propose more transparency in oil and gas permits and speed up approvals by considering applications “approved” if a decision is not made within 45 days. Governor Tom Wolf’s ban on oil and natural gas leases on state-owned land would end while giving a boost to the state’s coal industry by establishing a “Intrastate Coal/Natural Gas Use” provision clearly stating that any environmental regulation of coal mined and used in Pennsylvania can only be regulated by the Commonwealth, not the federal government. To preserve coal-fired power plants, the bill exempts Pennsylvania power plants from the EPA’s sewage rule and the interstate air pollution rule.
“Here in Pennsylvania, we are blessed with an abundance of natural resources that can provide well-paying jobs, reduce household and business energy costs, and help improve our country’s economic and national security prospects for generations to come, Hutchinson said. “We also know that these resources can be exploited in ways that have minimal impact on public health and the environment. This is a responsible measure to move our nation forward.
A poll released April 28 by cityandstatepa.com showed Mastriano with a 14-point lead over the next closest candidate in the Republican primary. The survey, conducted by a Democratic pollster and reviewed by City & State, polled 800 likely GOP voters over a three-day period and showed Mastriano the support of 28% of poll respondents. The next closest candidate is former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain.
Mastriano’s ambition for higher office is key to the future of legislation like Senate Bill 1219, which faces almost certain vetoes from Wolf if passed by the US legislature. Republican-led state.