Pennsylvania is an energy powerhouse. The Keystone State is the nation’s largest net exporter of electricity, the second-largest producer of natural gas, and third-largest producer of coal. The United States can become the leading worldwide exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in 2022, with Pennsylvania second only to Texas as a producing state. Pennsylvania alone produces far more natural gas than the European Union currently imports from Russia. In fact, Pennsylvania production is more than double the capacity of Putin’s controversial and now-stalled Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
Unfortunately, Biden administration policies are preventing Pennsylvania’s highly skilled workforce from exporting responsibly, safely sourced energy to the world. The president says he’s protecting American consumers and prioritizing stability in global energy markets even while undermining our domestic energy sector in an effort to address climate change. Now, he is pleading with OPEC+ to pump more oil instead of recognizing that his own domestic energy policies — not just banning Russian oil and gas — spike prices.
The process began with canceling the Keystone Pipeline, but the administration has gone further by fostering a chilling business environment that shuns investment in fossil fuels and freezes energy production on federal lands.
Artificial political obstacles to critical energy infrastructure happen right here in Pennsylvania. Last fall, for example, companies canceled the PennEast Pipeline from the Marcellus Shale fields into New Jersey, citing the difficulty securing permits for the project.
These policies are backwards. We need a commonsense strategy centered on U.S. energy production. Between Pennsylvania and other top-producing states such as Texas and Alaska, America can power our nation and cripple one of our greatest geopolitical threats: Russian strongman Vladimir Putin.
Pennsylvania’s power could end Putin’s reign of terror in Ukraine—and deter and future threats of war against NATO. Increasing our energy production is one of the best weapons we have to combat Russia’s violent foreign policy, instead of funding it by importing oil and natural gas from Russia.
That’s why Putin hates U.S. fracking. He has been campaigning against it for almost a decade. NATO has warned that Russia has been covertly working to undermine fossil fuel production in both Europe and the United States "as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations."
We need a commonsense strategy centered on U.S. energy production.
Europe provides a cautionary tale of the consequences of prioritizing climate aspirations over energy security after the continent took it upon itself to unilaterally disarm on the energy front. Germany abandoned its once extensive nuclear energy program, shifting to increased reliance on renewables—and on the Russians.
Putin’s invasion has been a terrible wake-up call that presents Pennsylvania—home to the second-largest Ukrainian-American population in the country—the U.S., and the West with an opportunity for a much-needed energy reset.
We need Washington and New York to stop blocking pipelines and allow the flow of our energy resources, starting with Pennsylvania’s Mariner East pipelines and Marcus Hook Industrial Complex.
Even absent action in Washington, we can change policy in Harrisburg. State Rep. Seth Grove’s End Russian Aggression Act, for example, would boost drilling in the commonwealth, fund more pipelines, and make it easier to get drilling permits approved. It also would prevent Pennsylvania from artificially reducing the amount of electricity it generates by stopping entry into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a move Gov. Glenn Youngkin in Virginia just made. If Wolf vetoes it, we should elect a new governor in November who will enthusiastically sign it into law.
In 1776, Pennsylvania was ground zero in America’s fight for independence. In 2022, Pennsylvania can once again lead a revolution in U.S. energy production and make our country and the world safer and more prosperous.
Dr. Victoria Coates is a distinguished fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council and served as senior policy advisor to the Secretary of Energy in the Trump administration. Jennifer Stefano is executive vice president of the Commonwealth Foundation and a visiting fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum.