HARRISBURG, Pa. (Erie News Now) – Pennsylvania Republican lawmakers announced policies to divest from Russia and promote Pennsylvania energy production on Tuesday.
House Republicans are eager to ramp up energy production in the commonwealth, more than what it’s at currently.
“So we, and our allies, can not only heat our homes today and next year, but power our hospitals, our schools and thousands of businesses that depend on energy,” said House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin).
Even though Gov. Tom Wolf and Democrats may disagree with Republicans on things like eliminating certain regulations and dropping out of climate coalitions, like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), they do agree on one thing.
“The barbarity of the invasion of Ukraine leaves no doubt about who Vladimir Putin is. He is a murderous thug,” said Rep. Greg Rothman (R-Cumberland).
“He is a geopolitical bully. We are all appalled by what we’ve seen,” said Gov. Wolf in a Monday press conference.
On Monday, Gov. Wolf shared the latest efforts to support Ukraine and cut ties with Russia. Today, House Republicans agree that divestment is pivotal.
“We share those concerns and share in our support. We must continue to do our part to divest from Russia and invest in freedom,” said Benninghoff.
However, Benninghoff says the Commonwealth must do more to cut energy imports from Russia and promote Pennsylvania’s resources.
“Every cent the United States and our allies spends on Russian oil and gas goes to finance their war efforts,” said Benninghoff. “We may not be able to change the gas and energy markets overnight, but we must start this process today by increasing production, increasing capacity and developing transmission here today,” he added.
Republicans say the U.S. ban on Russian oil imports is a step in the right direction, but argue that simply importing from other countries besides Russia is not the answer.
“We still are importing gas and oil from some of our worst foes of democracy and human rights,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rep. Stan Saylor (R-York).
“No country produces energy cleaner than we do in America. And by the way, the idea that we would buy oil from Venezuela, who has no environmental standards and no freedom of the people, is insanity,” said Rep. Rothman.
The group of Republican representatives including norther tier Rep. Clint Owlett (R-Bradford), are pushing legislation and policies to promote energy production here in Pennsylvania.
“The legislation that I’m putting forward would put an end to the governor’s misguided moratorium on new gas leases on state lands and open up the opportunity for subsurface leases only,” said Owlett. “Freeing ourselves from dependence on Russia and investing our money in our own energy development is the best choice for freedom and democracy,” he added.
Owlett’s proposal is one of several policies and resolutions unveiled this morning. Some others include:
- Rep. Stan Saylor discussed his resolution to urge 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. “Pennsylvania is the second-largest natural gas producing state in the nation and stands ready to meet the demands of consumers in New England and elsewhere,” said Saylor.
- Rep. Josh Kail (R-Beaver/Washington) discussed his legislative initiative to stop advocacy organizations from accepting donations from foreign entities.
- Rep. Jim Struzzi (R-Indiana) outlined his legislation to stop Pennsylvania’s entry into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which Republicans say would disincentivize the use and production of Pennsylvania natural gas.
“Deterrents like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative 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,” said Struzzi.