House Advances Plan to Expand PA Energy Production

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Benninghoff: Pennsylvania House Advances Package of Bills to Invest in Freedom by Expanding PA Energy Production

HARRISBURG – In response to Russia’s regional aggression and continued attempts to expand its geopolitical influence, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Monday passed a package of legislation that would invest in freedom by expanding Pennsylvania energy production, Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) said.

“Pennsylvania has the ability and resources to invest in freedom by contributing to American-led energy independence for ourselves and our allies by increasing natural gas production and transmission capabilities to help end Russia’s energy dominance in Europe and other parts of the world,” Benninghoff said.

The package of bills passed by the House today that would invest in freedom by expanding Pennsylvania energy production include:

  • House Bill 604 (Rep. Jonathan Fritz, R-Wayne/Susquehanna): Would establish a permitting framework at the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to ensure that decisions on permits are rendered reliably and in a timely manner.
  • House Bill 2450 (Rep. Jonathan Fritz, R-Wayne/Susquehanna): Would amend the Delaware River Basin Compact (DRBC) to reapportion the voting rights within the DRBC based on the amount of the basin territory that is within each state. Pennsylvania would have six votes under this plan, New Jersey would have three votes, New York would have two votes, Delaware would have one vote, and the federal government would have one vote.
  • House Bill 2451 (Rep. Jonathan Fritz, R-Wayne/Susquehanna): Would amend the Delaware River Basin Compact (DRBC) to make it clear that it is not within the DRBC’s authority to ban fracking.
  • House Bill 2461 (Rep. Clint Owlett, R-Tioga/Potter/Bradford): Would require the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to establish a program to lease the subsurface rights under state lands for oil and gas development.

House Bill 637, legislation introduced by Rep. Jim Struzzi (R-Indiana), which would require legislative approval before Pennsylvania could enter into a multi-state carbon tax program like RGGI, is also part of the package and passed the House on March 30, 2022.

Passage of the legislative package comes on the heels of the Biden administration entering into an agreement with the European leaders to significantly increase domestic natural gas exports to these countries.

“Forty percent of the Russian government’s budget comes from its oil and gas industry, meaning the more petroleum products Russia exports, the more it can wage war and finance its pursuit of regional and global influence. Currently, the world buys between $5 billion and $7 billion worth of Russian oil and gas per week. While the United States recently banned the import of Russian petroleum products, European countries—currently receiving over 40% of their natural gas from Russia—have been unable to do so,” Benninghoff said.

“Increasing Pennsylvania energy production and transmission capacity can increase supply and exports to help our allies make the decision to join us in ending their reliance on Russian petroleum products,” he concluded.

House Bill 2458, introduced by Rep. Martina White (R-Philadelphia), which would establish the Philadelphia LNG Export Task Force is also part of the package and is scheduled to be considered on the Floor later this week.