Biden moratorium on natural gas exports could hurt Pennsylvania’s energy future, House panel hears • Pennsylvania Capital-Star

The Biden administration’s moratorium on building new liquified natural gas export terminals makes the future uncertain for what could be an “economy changing” project for Pennsylvania, House Republican lawmakers heard Monday.

Speakers representing the manufacturing and natural gas industries and construction trades said an LNG export terminal proposed on the Delaware River would support thousands of jobs across the state, generate $7 billion in economic activity and result in $1 billion in new tax revenue. 

And with the global supply of natural gas threatened by war and political instability, Pennsylvania has a market for Marcellus Shale gas in Europe, Carl Marrara, executive director of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association, said.

“The Biden administration has effectively put a blockade on all new LNG terminal construction by instituting an indefinite ban on applications approving new facilities,” Marrara said.

Republican state lawmakers aren’t alone in their criticism of the indefinite halt to LNG terminal permitting, which the Biden administration said is necessary to allow the U.S. Department of Energy to update the economic and environmental analyses it uses to authorize such projects.

Pennsylvania’s Democratic U.S. Sens. John Fetterman and Bob Casey released a statement following Biden’s announcement expressing concern about the president’s decision.

“Pennsylvania is an energy state. As the second largest natural gas-producing state, this industry has created good-paying energy jobs in towns and communities across the Commonwealth and has played a critical role in promoting U.S. energy independence,” Casey and Fetterman wrote. 

The senators said said the immediate impacts on Pennsylvania remained to be seen, but that they shared concern about the long-term impacts of the moratorium on thousands of natural gas jobs in the commonwealth.

“If this decision puts Pennsylvania energy jobs at risk, we will push the Biden Administration to reverse this decision,” Casey and Fetterman said.

“This issue is not a partisan issue,” said Rep. Martina White (R-Philadelphia) who was chairperson of a task force to analyze the benefits and impacts of a proposal for a $6.4 billion LNG export terminal in Chester, Delaware County.

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In addition to opposing natural gas as a contributor to global carbon emissions, environmentalists said the terminal would perpetuate environmental injustice in Chester, one of Pennsylvania’s poorest cities where residents suffer ill health as a legacy of its industrial past.

Pennsylvania Building and Construction Trades President Robert Bair said natural gas, with lower emissions of most pollutants including carbon dioxide, will be “the lynchpin” to meeting the global goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

“We are going to have an energy crisis in Pennsylvania,” said Bair, who stood with Gov. Josh Shapiro when he announced his energy plan last month.

The electric grid that supplies Pennsylvania is expected to retire as much generating capacity as demand is expected to increase over the next decade, effectively doubling the need for new plants. 

“What I can tell you is we’re not going to build that much renewable energy, so gas has to play a part in this,” Bair said.



Originally published at penncapital-star.com,by Peter Hall

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