Owlett, Fritz Weigh In on PA’s Plans to Divest from Russia, Invest in Freedom

Edited from Submitted Materials

Pennsylvania House Republicans on Tuesday announced their legislative plans to divest from Russian financial assets and invest in freedom by empowering Pennsylvania’s energy producers to meet new oil and gas demands.

House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (Centre/Mifflin) noted the importance of divesting from Russian financial assets. Since we introduced our intention last week to divest Pennsylvania from Russian financial assets, I have been proud to work with the Treasury and our state pension systems as they have taken action themselves to carry out this function. We are continuing to pursue this divestment legislation because it can provide these agencies with a legislatively sanctioned structure to continue with the task they have already undertaken,” Benninghoff said. The Commonwealth has a moral obligation to speak on this as a whole. The Treasurer and the pension systems have taken the first step, and we will legislatively take the final steps.”

He also discussed the importance of and the need to empower Pennsylvania’s energy producers. As calls to stop the import of Russian petroleum products echo through Europe and the United States, gas producing areas need to do their part to step up; and while President Biden and other world leaders are looking to countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia—countries that do not share our values—to increase production and make up the difference, they really should be looking to places like Pennsylvania,” Benninghoff added. “We have abundant energy resources we can scale up and expand upon right under our feet. Unlike Russia, Belarus, Iran and Saudi Arabia, we share a commitment to freedom, human rights and individual liberty.”

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Stan Saylor (York) discussed his resolution to urge the governors of New York and New Jersey to allow pipeline capacity to get Pennsylvania natural gas to neighboring states in a cost-effective manner.

Not only have anti-energy policies from President Joe Biden down to blue-state governors resulted in increased costs to consumers, but they mean that we as a country are helping to finance Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked war on Ukraine through oil and natural gas imports. It’s unconscionable and outright shameful,” Saylor said. “Pennsylvania is the second-largest natural gas producing state in the nation and stands ready to meet the demands of consumers in New England and elsewhere. There is no justifiable reason to have Russian LNG imports in our country.”

Rep. Clint Owlett (Bradford/Tioga/Potter) noted the importance of increasing the supply of Pennsylvania energy to help stymie the Russian war effort in Eastern Europe. He is proposing legislation that would end the governor’s moratorium on subsurface leases of state land to boost production. 

With 40% of Russia’s government financing coming from its oil and gas exports, we must realize that we are essentially funding this unjust, unprovoked and brutal attack on Ukraine,” Owlett said. “Freeing ourselves from dependence on Russia and investing our money in our own energy development is the best choice for freedom and democracy.”

Rep. Jonathan Fritz (Wayne/Susquehanna) discussed his legislation to get the Delaware River Basin Commission to open the river basin to gas drilling and exploration and reform how the commission does business. 

Seeing the Russia and Ukraine atrocity makes it so vividly clear that we need to focus on accessing domestic energy sources,” Fritz stated. “Pennsylvania is blessed to sit atop an abundant amount of clean burning natural gas and we need to focus on getting that to market.”

1 Comment

  1. They can talk about stopping Russian imports, but what are they doing about stopping the exports of our natural resources?

    Much of the production for many of these natural gas companies is essentially owned by foreign countries. They are locked into multi-decade deals with the highest bidders in China, India, and elsewhere for LNG exports. It is the same exact reason they are converting our import terminals into export terminals. This isn’t something new. It’s been in the works since the industry has been here. In 2018 it was reported that ~15% of all U.S. LNG exports went to China. The Chinese are locked into contracts with Cheniere Energy until the mid-2040s. Look at other natural gas producers and see who their biggest share holders are and what kind of deals they have made.

    If it is going to be touted that this industry is freedom from dependence on foreign oil and that it’s a national security issue, then maybe they need to start regulating the industry and prevent them from exporting our resources to the highest bidders. The industry seems to only care about profit and controlling the price, not protecting our resources for America and future generations.

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