Former mayor and congressman Lou Barletta, leading Republican candidate for governor of Pennsylvania, today unveiled his plan to unleash the Commonwealth’s energy resources, create jobs, and mitigate international geopolitical conflicts. As governor, Barletta will support the expanded use of pipelines, remove Pennsylvania from the job-killing Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), reform the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), allocate grant money for broadband and energy infrastructure, promote Pennsylvania’s abundant rare earth elements, create performance-based environmental incentives, and invest in workforce development.
“Pennsylvania can be the Saudi Arabia of the United States if the government would get out of the way and let our natural resources work for us,” Barletta said. “We have a massive reservoir of natural gas in the ground under our feet. Having this resource without the pipelines is like being in college and having a keg of beer without a tap. Unlike Josh Shapiro, who approved Pennsylvania’s entry in the job-killing RGGI, I’ll get government out of the way and promote job creation while also keeping a clean environment. Pennsylvania's energy independence is vital to national security and protecting the United States from international geopolitical conflicts like the current Russia-Ukraine crisis that has destabilized global markets. We should keep our children safe at home in work boots rather than sending them overseas in combat boots to fight wars that don't serve America's best interests."Expand pipeline capacity through faster and more reliable permitting, which is the key to increasing responsible natural gas production.
Lou Barletta’s Energy Plan
Support Expanded Use of Pipelines
Barletta will greenlight new pipelines and support existing ones to unleash the full potential of Pennsylvania's natural resources and protect the United States from potential geopolitical conflicts:
Expand pipeline capacity through faster and more reliable permitting, which is the key to increasing responsible natural gas production.
Support efforts like HB 1947 that prohibit municipalities from discriminating against utility service providers based on the type of energy source. This will prevent an unworkable patchwork of restrictions that could deny residents and businesses access to a variety of affordable energy options.
Standardize regulatory definitions to ensure consistent application of rules to prevent unelected bureaucrats from interpreting statutes inconsistently.
Create performance-based environmental incentives and prioritize existing state dollars available to incentivize innovation to address the environmental challenges facing our Commonwealth.
Create a reliable business environment for energy and manufacturing employers by allowing companies to deduct Net Operating Losses against other sources of income to offset initial upfront investments.
“When I'm governor, Pennsylvania will become a global leader in energy production," Barletta said. "The days of begging OPEC, and countries that hate us, for energy will be over. We will build the necessary infrastructure to get our energy to market and turn on the energy powerhouse that Pennsylvania can be, while also implementing an energy plan that creates jobs and cleans up the environment.” Remove PA from RGGI Attorney General Shapiro’s office approved Pennsylvania’s entry into RGGI, which punishes employers in the energy industry, costs blue-collar workers their jobs, and increases energy bills on Pennsylvanians, including low-income families. Barletta will remove Pennsylvania from RGGI. “RGGI will kill thousands of jobs and raise fuel bills on the people who can afford it the least,” Barletta said. “And it wouldn’t improve air quality because it just exports Pennsylvania’s energy production to nearby states which aren’t part of RGGI. It’s a bad deal all around, and people can trust me when I say that I will get Pennsylvania out of it.” Reform DEP Barletta will reform the Department of Environmental Protection, lead the agency into the 21st Century, and improve and speed up the permitting process:
Digitize the DEP permitting process, which is currently conducted only on paper.
Institute a mandatory turnaround time to approve permits.
Authorize third-party reviews for permitting where DEP has failed. If DEP misses a deadline, an employer will have the option to pay for a third party to review and approve a permit.
Create a task force to do a thorough review of existing regulations over coal, oil and gas, and other energy policies put in place by the current administration. This will identify and repeal unnecessary burdensome regulations that prevents these industries from operating efficiently while also identifying programs that worked in order to improve best practices.
“It’s become a sad joke that DEP in Pennsylvania now stands for ‘Don’t Expect Permits,’” Barletta said. “As we saw with U.S. Steel abandoning one of the largest industrial development projects in Pennsylvania history last year, we need to get the government out of the way and make Pennsylvania a business-friendly state. DEP failures should not hinder a business’ ability to grow and expand. When I’m governor, that changes. As someone who started a small business with my wife, a pavement-marking company from $29.95, and built it to the largest of its kind in the Commonwealth and the 6th largest in the country, I cannot imagine starting a business in Pennsylvania today. When I’m governor, we will again help the United States be the energy leader of the world and create jobs at the same time.”
RACP Grants Barletta would allocate a percentage of Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grants to unleash Pennsylvania’s natural resources and return Pennsylvania to an era of energy dominance by prioritizing rural broadband and energy infrastructure projects:
Spur private investment in Pennsylvania and generate strong, good-paying, blue-collar jobs.
Invest in energy infrastructure like pipelines, carbon capture, blue hydrogen, refinery upgrades, pollution prevention systems, and other advanced technologies.
Protect landowners from eminent domain issues by utilizing existing rights-of-way corridors for any new energy infrastructure project.
“When jobs leave Pennsylvania, so do our children and grandchildren,” Barletta said. “The fallout from Joe Biden’s disastrous COVID response and supply chain crisis have shown that there is a major need for Pennsylvania to produce and export our own energy in order to mitigate future public health, national security, or geopolitical risks that could stifle energy production and interrupt crucial supply chains. When I'm governor, I'll make sure we have an independent and constant energy supply along with the microgrid resilience and security."
Promote REEs Rare earth elements (REEs) don’t get the attention they deserve, but they are vital to our everyday life as key components of a nearly endless list of electronic devices. They are also a commodity over which China holds dangerous dominance, placing the United States at the mercy of their communist government. REEs can be found in coal waste and coal by-products in lands that have already been mined. For economic, national security, and environmental reasons, it is past time we increase domestic production of these minerals. Barletta will promote REEs by:
Creating a production tax credit specifically for REEs produced from coal waste and coal by-products. This would supplement federal research and development funding to study REE extraction from coal waste and help insulate the industry from Chinese price manipulation.
Creating production tax credits for other product streams that result from coal waste clean-up. While a tax credit already exists for coal waste used for power generation, incentives are needed for encouraging coal waste processing for other product streams such as clean coal, soil amendments, and other uses.
“We all know that environmentalists love to promote ‘clean energy,’ including windmills, solar panels, and electric cars. It may shock some to learn that all these technologies rely today on rare earth elements,” Barletta said. “There truly is no good argument against utilizing existing coal sites to produce REEs. It promotes land reclamation, it creates jobs, and it cuts into China’s control of the world market. We’ve been mining anthracite coal in our part of Pennsylvania for 150 years. It turns out we were sitting on a gold mine after all.”
Workforce Development Barletta will invest in workforce development initiatives to grow Pennsylvania’s energy workforce and accommodate existing and emerging industries. He will create workforce development programs for the energy, manufacturing, and technology industries. “Energy and manufacturing are Pennsylvania’s economic future,” Barletta said. “We need more skilled workers who will work in these industries, build and maintain pipelines, and move Pennsylvania to the top of the energy pyramid. The time to do this is now.”