A continuing string of polls once again underscores what we have known for quite some time now: that the overall economy will be, without a doubt, the No. 1 issue on American’s minds when they hit the polls on Nov. 4.
Unsurprisingly, ongoing concerns about economic instability and uncertainty is not a partisan issue; it’s a worry we all share – Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Blue states, Red states.
Observantly, most Pennsylvanians, of all affiliations, recognize how important energy production is to our economic prosperity – and how politics and regulations influence our energy outlook. They know that safe and environmentally responsible energy production:
- Stirs job creation and sustainable economic growth
- Brings in revenue for all levels of government
- Helps stabilize taxes
- Lowers utility and fuel costs
- Lowers prices for non-energy related items like food, electronics, clothing, medication and thousands of other everyday items
After all, the Keystone State sits on one of the nation’s largest natural gas deposits, the Marcellus Shale, and they know that increased natural gas production from Pennsylvania helped the United States surpass Russia as the world’s largest producer of natural gas.
So, as Pennsylvania goes, so goes energy production – and the economy.
That is why the upcoming midterm election is so important. On Election Day, we will vote and select our next governor, who will play a large role in creating and enforcing the policies we need to sustain our long history of energy dominance.
As such, here is quick snapshot of what each candidate – incumbent Republican Gov. Tom Corbett and Democratic challenger Tom Wolf – has in mind for our state’s energy landscape in the years ahead.
According to his campaign website, Corbett advocates for an “all of the above” energy strategy.
“A diverse energy portfolio from natural gas to coal to renewables, oil, nuclear and other energy technologies and resources can provide Americans energy security in a new era of energy abundance, that is, if we manage our domestic resources effectively and safely,” he said, according to PennLive.com.
Corbett claims that this strategy has bolstered the state’s energy portfolio while ensuring that the “industry is held accountable for following strict environmental guidelines” and that “local communities share in the economic benefits.”
Here is how he has done the latter:
- Production from the Marcellus Shale has paid over $400 million to local communities and an additional $2.1 billion in state corporate taxes, which has helped stabilize taxes and utility bills
- Through impact fees, the state has generated $630 million over the last three years
Because of these impact fees, Corbett does not support implementing a severance tax, believing that tax increases of any kind hinder production and continued capital investment, thereby stunting job growth and leading to higher energy costs for business and families.
He added that Pennsylvania regularly exchanges “best practices with other states on hydraulic fracturing and environmental remediation.” He said he also took“decisive action” that prevented the closing of three Pennsylvania oil refineries, which saved “thousands of Pennsylvania jobs.”
Wolf also believes that production from the Marcellus Shale must be a vital part of any energy plan for the state.
“The urgent challenge facing our state leaders, now and into the future, is how to manage this remarkable natural resource so that its benefits are broadly shared,” he said via his campaign website.
He also said he would promote policies that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, support clean energy alternatives, and up investments in green energy technology and infrastructure. Per his campaign website, he also wants to expand Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards and restore “some funding”to the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority.
Wolf also supports a 5 percent severance tax on natural gas extraction.
According to his campaign website, he would also like to:
- Increase funding for the Department of Environmental Protection
- Require drillers to publicly disclose chemicals used during hydraulic fracturing process
- Give local communities more control in zoning
- Accelerate new investments in energy efficiency retrofits
- Join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to set “fair” emission caps
On November 4th, regardless of affiliation, keep energy production in mind when casting your vote. In the end, a vote for energy is a vote for a stronger economy and a better way of life for Pennsylvanians.