Harrisburg- Senator Doug Mastriano (PA-33) and Senator Scott Hutchinson (PA-21) have officially introduced legislation to stabilize energy costs for Pennsylvanians, protect against market volatility in the long term, and utilize Pennsylvania’s unique natural resources to finally cement the commonwealth as a premier energy powerhouse.
SB 1219 will spur natural gas production and investment, reduce regulatory and permitting burdens, open new state lands for production, and withdraw Pennsylvania from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
The PA Energy Independence Act will make significant reforms to costly regulations and expedite the permit process. It requires a report from Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to the General Assembly on all current rules and regulations affecting the natural gas and coal industries and the respective economic impact of each regulation. It also requires legislative approval for any new regulations that affect the natural gas and coal industries.
SB 1219 increases transparency in the permit review process and expedites approvals by deeming applications “approved” if a decision is not made within 45 days.
The legislation also ends Governor Wolf’s ban on leases for natural gas and oil development in State-owned lands. This will create new opportunities for investment and extraction.
To save Pennsylvania’s remaining coal industry, the bill will establish an “Intrastate Coal/Natural Gas Use” provision to clearly state that any environmental regulation of coal that is extracted and used in Pennsylvania can only be exclusively regulated by the Commonwealth, not by the Federal government. To preserve coal-powered plants, the bill exempts Pennsylvania plants from the EPA’s Wastewater Rule and Cross State Air Pollution Rule.
Lastly, the PA Energy Independence Act ends Pennsylvania’s entry into RGGI which is projected to raise energy consumer costs by at least $2 billion over nine years and lead to the closure of at least five power plants within a year of entry.
“With our abundant resources, Pennsylvania should be largely immune to energy cost volatility. Cumbersome regulations, permitting delays, and misguided restrictions are handicapping the potential of our energy sector. Many companies simply choose to invest in states that are more energy friendly. Market volatility will not go away anytime soon. It’s time to take steps now to assert energy independence.”
“Here in Pennsylvania, we are blessed with an abundance of natural resources that can provide good paying jobs, reduce energy costs for households and businesses, and help improve our nation’s economic and national security outlook for generations to come,” said Senator Scott Hutchinson. “We also know that these resources can be harnessed in ways that result in minimal impact to public health and the environment. This is a responsible measure to keep our nation moving forward.”
Media Contact: Josh Herman (Mastriano)
Justin Leventry (Hutchinson)