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HARRISBURG — In Pennsylvania, it’s often not a question of whether a state candidate supports the oil and gas industry, but to what extent.
That’s the case with Pennsylvania’s leading gubernatorial candidates, Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro and Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano of Franklin County, who will square off this November.
Pennsylvania is one of the largest producers of fossil fuels in the US, accounting for 9% of the country’s total natural gas production. is also the third largest supplier of energy to other states Y the fourth largest emitter of carbon dioxide.
Nevertheless, vote shows that state voters are increasingly concerned about climate change caused by burning fossil fuels and the industry’s impacts on the environment.
Ahead of the November 8 election, Spotlight PA breaks down where the leading candidates stand on major energy and environmental issues:
Fossil fuels and renewable energies
Mastriano has brazenly and loudly called for the deregulation of the state’s fossil fuel industries. In March, he introduced the Pennsylvania Energy Independence Act, which would make it easier for oil, gas and coal companies to dig for resources across the state.
The invoice would mandate that the state Department of Environmental Protection review natural gas and coal permits within 45 days, or the permits would be automatically approved as long as they meet certain conditions. It would also lift the Wolf administration’s ban on leases in state parks and forests, cap permit fees for fracking wells, and exempt Pennsylvania’s coal industry from federal regulations.
“We need to open up more of our land for fracking and drilling,” Mastriano wrote in a Op-ed supporting expansion of Pennsylvania’s energy production. “The blessed Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania is still underutilized with untapped natural gas deposits.”
Spotlight PA was unable to locate any public statements by Mastriano on renewable energy, and his campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
Shapiro has called for “responsible fracking” and energy production that causes minimal damage to the environment. He has fiance adopt the recommendations of a grand jury report that commissioned as attorney general who suggested expanding “no drilling” zones, requiring disclosure of fracking chemicals before they are on site, regulating smaller pipelines, and conducting “comprehensive health responses” to the effects of live near fracking sites.
in a plane on your campaign websiteShapiro said he would invest in the research, development and design of carbon-free technologies, such as nuclear, hydrogen and carbon capture, efforts that he said would support business and job creation.
Similarly, he has said he would focus on growing clean energy. On his campaign website, Shapiro said he would raise the 2030 goal of clean or renewable electricity production from the current 8% target to 30%, and reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
Last April, Pennsylvania joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a commitment by a dozen states to reduce emissions by requiring fossil fuel power plants to buy carbon dioxide emission rights. Proceeds from the allocations then return to the state to reinvest in renewable energy, flood control measures, or other initiatives.
The state’s participation in the program immediately drew the ire of Republican lawmakers and industry groups, who brought a case in Commonwealth Court to prevent the state from joining. Subsequently, Pennsylvania was unable to participate in the emission rights sale this september.
Mastriano has been an outspoken critic of Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s decision to join RGGI and vowed to withdraw from the initiative as governor, a concept he introduced in his energy independence bill. He argues RGGI”will do much more harm than good”, as its regulations would drive companies seeking to invest in the energy industry to neighboring states.
The Department of Environmental Protection predicts that the program create more than 30,000 jobs, and anticipates that coal generation will decrease. The coal industry employs more than 10,000 workers, according to the DEP. A study of other states participating in RGGI found increased economic activity and job growth. .
Mastriano has also called the effects of RGGI on climate change “negligible.” However, it has been shown that carbon pricing reduce emissions, and most environmental, economic, and public policy scholars they agree that the program will have at least a modest impact on slowing climate change in the state.
Shapiro has not yet committed to staying with RGGI. On the campaign trail, he said he’s not sure RGGI is the most effective way to reduce environmental impact while protecting jobs and affordable energy prices in the state. Shapiro said he would have to consult with workers and experts before making any decisions.
Climate change and conservation
His campaign has rarely mentioned the conservation of natural resources. When asked how he would protect Pennsylvania’s environment in a candidate pollhe wrote, “I am an Eagle Scout and I respect the environment, we are stewards of the earth.”
Shapiro has said he wants to combat climate change while creating new jobs for Pennsylvanians, arguing that it is a ” false choice between protecting jobs or protecting our planet.”
The Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund and the PA Conservation Voters Victory Fund have supported Shapiro, spend at least half a million dollars on ads criticizing Mastriano.
As attorney general, Shapiro charged Energy Transfer, a pipeline construction company, with environmental crimes that include causing damage to wetlands, waterways and drinking water while building liquefied natural gas pipelines. also charged the company negligently about his role in a 2018 explosion. which caused an explosion in 2018.
Read Spotlight PA’s full coverage, plus key dates, campaign finance facts, sample ballots and more on our 2022 Election Center Website.
Focus on the problems: the position of Mastriano and Shapiro…
» Crime and Justice
» LGBTQ rights
More problem analyzes will be published in the coming weeks.
A complete list of Spotlight PA voter guides:
» Your Complete Guide to the Gubernatorial Candidates
» How to Screen the Candidates on Your Midterm Ballot
» No constitutional amendments on the ballot, but big ones are coming
» How to serve as a poll worker on November 8
» Everything you need to know about requesting, completing and returning your ballot by mail
» These Pennsylvania voters haven’t missed a November election in over 50 years
» How Spotlight PA will cover the 2022 Pennsylvania election
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