As Pennsylvanians feel pain at the pump amid the Ukraine-Russia crisis, clean energy advocates say it’s a prime example of why the country needs to find sources of energy. more sustainable energy beyond oil and gas.
The rise in gas prices is linked to the ban on imports of Russian oil following Vladimir Putin’s assault on Ukraine.
Representative Joe Webster, D-Montgomery, said that although Russian oil only accounts for about 4% of daily oil consumption in the United States, it still has a global impact. Webster argued that market volatility combined with nations using it as a tactic against Putin speaks to the need for the United States to turn to energy sources such as solar and wind power.
“If you realize that fossil fuels are the source of funding for Putin’s war in Ukraine, in the short and long term, the solutions to our current crisis and to gas prices start with reducing our dependence on fossil fuels,” he said. affirmed Webster.
Some Pennsylvania lawmakers have proposed suspending or reducing the state’s 57.6 cents per gallon gasoline tax, the highest in the nation. Opponents have countered that he will not address the bigger reasons for rising gas prices, such as the country’s reliance on imported crude oil.
Webster said passing the Build Back Better clean energy provisions is a step at the federal level that could be taken. In Pennsylvania, he said adopting the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a multistate cap-and-invest program to reduce carbon emissions, could help.
“What the oil and gas companies have been doing for 100 years in Pennsylvania is leaving trash in our woods,” Webster pointed out. “Their business cost should include cleaning up their waste. By using RGGI, we’re forcing the market to somehow pay for that carbon left in the air or the spillage left in the ground.
The state Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee will hold a joint hearing with the Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee on March 29 to discuss the economic impacts of RGGI. Some lawmakers resisted the RGGI, saying it would hurt the state’s economy.