The Russian invasion of the sovereign nation of Ukraine sparked outraged throughout the world. It has also led to high prices at the gas pumps, as well as higher heating bills for those with natural gas due to volatility in the energy market.
Russia is the world’s second largest natural gas producer, only behind the United States, and its war actions have had a ripple effect on all energy users. There must be repercussions for Russian President Valdimir Putin’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine and there must be a way to advert the negative impact of the higher natural gas prices here at home. The answer lies right beneath our feet!
Pennsylvania is the partial home to the Marcellus Shale region, which also extends to our neighbors to the north, south and west. The region is a massive supplier of natural gas, but its full export potential has not yet been reached. Pennsylvania could supply fuel to our European allies that are forced to unfortunately rely on Russian natural gas. We should be giving our European friends the freedom to buy American, and specifically to buy Pennsylvania natural gas rather than buying Russian natural gas. We all know that Russia powers its war machine with profits from natural gas sales. And why would we want our allies to continue buying natural gas from a country run by a war criminal?
I want our European allies buying Pennsylvania gas, and that is why I joined my fellow House Republicans to announce legislative plans to divest from Russian financial assets and to promote our energy resources here in Pennsylvania.
We want to empower our Pennsylvania energy producers to meet new oil and gas demands at home and abroad. But, there are forces standing in our way. We have called on the governors of New York and New Jersey to end their pipeline bans that prevent Pennsylvania natural gas from reaching the New England states. From there, Pennsylvania natural gas would easily be shipped across the Atlantic to Europe.
In additional to petitioning for a pipeline to New England to fuel Europe, and to wean Americans off Russian natural gas, we also urged President Joe Biden to end Russian oil and gas imports into the United States, which he has thankfully done.
Pennsylvania natural gas is already shipped halfway around the world to Japan. Surely, we can ship it the less than 4,000 miles to mainland Europe. Germany, Italy and France are some of the top destinations for Russian natural gas. Considering their recent sanctions and strong stance against Russian aggression, I’d hazard a guess those countries would much prefer to buy American gas.
Since government is often the main hindrance to harvesting Pennsylvania’s abundant natural resources, my fellow lawmakers and I outlined proposals to boost energy production through opening the Delaware River Basin for natural gas development. We also called on Gov. Tom Wolf to end his moratorium on subsurface leases on state land and to bar Pennsylvania’s entry into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which would have a devastating negative impact on our natural gas industry.
Additional proposals would follow up on actions of the state Treasury and retirement systems to require divestiture from any Russian financial assets.
Pennsylvania has the potential to not only be completely natural gas independent, but to also fuel our allies around the globe. We must seize the opportunity to protect Pennsylvanians and our friends from the volatility caused by Russian aggression. The time is now to unleash the power of Pennsylvania energy because our national security and the security of the free world depends on it.
Kate Klunk represents the 169th Legislative District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, serving portions of York County.Author: Kate Klunk
Publication: Gettysburg Times