We need to use common sense – not political jargon – to pave a positive energy future here in Pennsylvania. Our state deserves better than politicians and unelected bureaucrats making regulatory decisions that wholly diminish the benefits received from the energy industry.
Domestic energy production helps create jobs and expand local economies that support residents across the state. As the second largest natural gas-producing state in the United States, behind only Texas, Pennsylvania’s municipalities and counties, especially in rural counties like Bradford, rely on the millions of dollars in tax revenue from these natural gas resources to build sustained community development.
This tax revenue could lead to crucial federal and state investments in clean energy technologies, helping fuel our state’s innovations like carbon capture and storage and advanced recycling and pushing Pennsylvania to lead the energy transition.
As Bradford County commissioner and president of the American Rural Energy Coalition, I have worked with the energy industry and local leaders to make sure that industry jobs and investments are protected. My mission as both commissioner and board member is to ensure the communities that I care about can maximize their opportunities for clean energy development. We need to make sure Pennsylvania is not left behind.
Embracing the next steps in our clean energy future shouldn’t include our lawmakers completely writing off our best assets. There is a range of technologies that can help us boost manufacturing jobs and not overhaul Pennsylvania’s energy economy, including carbon capture and storage and blue hydrogen.
CCS is critical to reducing our carbon footprint across the nation. Currently, CCS is the only technology that can decarbonize our larger-emitting but critical industries like manufacturing, chemicals, and refining. Economically, CCS can also benefit states like Pennsylvania.
As one of the largest manufacturing states in the nation, carbon capture and storage could allow us to expand our workforce and capabilities while improving economic opportunities in the form of good-paying, high-quality jobs. Studies have shown that retrofitting a single steel plant with CCS could create up to 3,030 jobs and provide over 300 full-time opportunities for blue-collar workers.
With CCS being crucial to achieving our global climate goals by 2060, we could also set up our nation to gain a better sense of energy independence by increasing our contributions to decarbonization. Alongside blue hydrogen, a substance produced from renewables, we could expand our impact in decarbonizing industrial emissions.
Unfortunately, due to poor policy decisions from our administration, hydrogen’s development and affordability would be significantly limited. For states like Pennsylvania to thrive in this energy transition, the industry and the government must work together to make sure this technology is properly invested in and available.
Advancing our energy industry should be a priority for our administration. We need to take an all-hands-on-deck approach to this energy transition and make meaningful investments into developing future technologies like CCS and hydrogen. To start, our lawmakers should meet our industry leaders halfway and continue to support their efforts to pave both economic opportunity and a cleaner future.
Doug McLinko is a Bradford County commissioner and president of America’s Rural Energy Coalition.