Yudichak Senate Committee Examines Pennsylvania’s Natural Gas Infrastructure

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State Senator John Yudichak, chairman of the Senate Committee on Community, Economic and Recreational Development, said on Tuesday that “a radical environmental agenda driven by blind ideology at the expense of good science promotes a false premise that the only climate solution is to end the production of natural gas in the United States. “

Chaired by Yudichak, I-Swoyersville, the committee held a joint hearing Monday on Pennsylvania’s natural gas infrastructure, and discussed how neglecting an investment in energy infrastructure negatively impacts consumers and the economy.

The hearing was held on Capitol Hill in conjunction with the Senate Committee on Environmental Resources and Energy, chaired by Senator Gene Yaw (R-Williamsport).

“Pennsylvania is a world leader in natural gas production, which has strengthened our economy and improved our ability to reduce carbon emissions by 34% over the past decade,” said Yudichak. “Failure to invest in modern energy infrastructure, like pipelines and advanced manufacturing technologies, will devastate Pennsylvania’s economy, increase consumer utility bills, and weaken our efforts to fight climate change.

Yudichak noted that in the past three years in Keystone State, four canceled natural gas and manufacturing projects have resulted in a direct economic loss of more than $ 4 billion, millions of labor hours for construction workers and thousands of jobs.

Yudichak said that Philadelphia Energy Solutions recently cracked down on a refinery project, US Steel shut down a $ 1.5 billion manufacturing company in Allegheny County, a supply improvement project in the northeast. est was discontinued in 2020, and most recently UGI and its partners announced the suspension of a $ 1 billion PennEast. pipeline project, negatively impacting thousands of construction trades jobs in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Regulatory authorization procedures, frivolous lawsuits and radical ideology perpetuated by environmental extremists have been cited as justification for stopping the projects, Yudichak said.

“The lack of pipeline infrastructure in the Northeast has resulted in some of the highest electricity prices in the United States for families and businesses,” said Senator Yaw. “It will only get worse, thanks to restrictive energy policies and foreign-funded anti-fuel groups pushing to ‘keep it in the ground’.”

Speakers included Jim Snell, commercial director of Steamfitters Local 420, who noted that his group serves the entire Pennsylvania pipeline distribution system and that “demand for clean-burning natural gas remains high.” He cited a forecast predicting that industrial natural gas consumption will increase by 35% by 2050.

“If we are to meet these clean energy goals, we will need new infrastructure and a skilled workforce,” Snell explained. “The pipeline constraints that currently limit market access – affecting consumers, businesses and manufacturers – will only get worse without projects like PennEast and increased investment in pipeline infrastructure.”

In addition, Snell stressed that pipelines are “essential in the fight against climate change”.

“With the safe and efficient transportation of natural gas … to broader markets, emissions from the electricity sector have declined significantly since 2005, as the production and use of natural gas has increased,” Snell said. “It has led to cleaner air throughout the Commonwealth.”

Pennsylvania Chamber of Business & Industry government affairs director Kevin Sunday told committee members that expanded natural gas infrastructure is needed to deliver reliable energy to the region, fuel the economy and meet targets. climatic.

“Unfortunately, at the behest of activists, the governments of New York and New Jersey have attempted to block several pipeline projects that would have delivered additional gas to New England,” said Sunday, while explaining that the bills of annual electricity could increase by more than $ 150. million per year in this area.

“Instead, these residents will have to use more expensive and less efficient space heating options,” said Sunday.

Other witnesses included Coalition Chairman Marcellus Shale Dave Callahan, PA East Workers District Council Commercial Director Tony Seiwell, PA Manufacturers Association President Dave Taylor, Executive Director of the Consumer Energy Alliance Mid Atlantic Mike Butler, Vice President of Government Affairs of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association Ray Cantor and Christine Maloni Hoover, Acting Consumer Lawyer for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Currently, the United States generates 80% of its energy from coal, oil and natural gas. Despite this dependence on fossil fuels, the country is the world leader in reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Since 2005, emissions have fallen in the United States by 758 million metric tonnes, more than any other country in the world.

“Cleaner fuels, energy savings, a smarter electricity grid, and countless technological advancements in the energy sector have all been sparked by legislative policies in Pennsylvania that have supported a strong portfolio of natural resources,” nuclear energy and renewable energy sources, ”Yudichak said. “Our energy portfolio is the envy of other states and most nations of the world. That’s billions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs, but radical environmentalists want to bankrupt the PA’s energy industry and building unions. “

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