HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee Chairman Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) today convened an informational meeting, before the governor’s annual budget address, focusing on the “State of the State.”
“Wherever free enterprise and limited government are given the opportunity to thrive, rising standards of living, cleaner air and water, lower energy costs, and greater personal freedom naturally follow,” said Chairman Metcalfe. “In terms of Pennsylvania’s future business climate and regulatory environment, implementing any of the governor’s radically progressive energy strategies, which are based largely on fake science, would place us on a ‘Road to Serfdom’ very similar to what is occurring in Venezuela.”
Associated Petroleum Industries of PA Executive Director Stephanie Catarino Wissman and Marcellus Shale Coalition President David J. Spigelmyer were invited to present further insight into the tremendous environmental and economic progress reports summarized below proving that Pennsylvania’s power sector has already hit the Paris agreement targets for reduced emissions, while job creation and revenue from Commonwealth energy producers continues to rise exponentially:
• The United States is the world’s largest oil and natural gas producer and the global leader in reducing carbon emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
• Since 2005, U.S. natural gas production has increased 68 percent, while carbon emissions tied to the power sector have fallen 28 percent, according to federal government data.
• As the nation’s second largest natural gas producing state, Pennsylvania is at the forefront of leveraging this clean fuel source to enhance air quality and stimulate enormous economic growth.
• In 2016 alone, the American Petroleum Institute estimates that $17.1 billion was spent on the environment and $15.3 billion was spent implementing new technologies, creating “cleaner” fuels and funding ongoing environmental initiatives.
• Researchers from Carnegie Mellon have also concluded that with expanded natural gas use, the United States power sector has already achieved Clean Power Plan 2025 emission goals and Pennsylvania’s power sector has hit the Paris agreement targets as well.
• Natural gas has not helped America become the world leader in reducing carbon emissions through rules and regulation, that has happened because the industry was free to innovate, and the market was free to work.
• There are few industries more regulated than the natural gas and oil industry. The key to energy regulations is to keep them grounded in common sense and hard science, while letting this industry deliver on the next wave of innovation and a cleaner, stronger Pennsylvania.
• Hard-working families throughout Pennsylvania are realizing average household natural gas and utility savings of $1,100 to $2,200 annually.
In addition, Pennsylvania’s Independent Fiscal Office recently shared an estimate for Fiscal Year 2018 impact fee collections of $247 million, which is more than $37.4 million over the previous year.
Proceeds from the impact fee are distributed to local governments and state agencies to provide financial assistance for infrastructure, emergency services, environmental initiatives and various other programs. Local governments receive funds based on the number of wells located within their boundaries or their proximity to jurisdictions where natural gas extraction took place.
“No matter what the governor has claimed previously or in the future, his massive natural gas extraction tax increase would require future impact fee proceeds to be diverted into the black hole of the general fund,” confirmed Metcalfe. “Keep in mind, with an extraction tax there is absolutely no assurance that this revenue would ever be returned to the local level where the impact fee was originally generated.”
The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee is responsible for legislative oversight of environmental laws and regulations administered by both the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). Both DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn and DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell agreed to offer comments on their respective executive agencies.
The DEP has previously stated that due to the expansion of clean natural gas in power generation, emissions of six key pollutants, harmful to the environment and public health, have dropped 73 percent from 1990 to 2017. Methane emissions also continued their downward trend in 2017, while natural gas production increased to meet rising energy demand.
“My purpose for convening this informational hearing was to preempt the governor’s annual budget address with the facts regarding what energy policies are truly needed to protect the health, wealth and safety of Pennsylvania taxpayers and job creators,” said Metcalfe. “This does not include Wolf’s proposals, which we will no doubt hear about again later today, to impose the largest natural gas extraction tax in the nation or overregulating Pennsylvania back to the stone age through more restrictive emissions standards that have already been exceeded by the private sector.”
For the latest legislative updates, visit RepMetcalfe.com
Representative Daryl Metcalfe
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Ty McCauslin