Carbon capture and storage can enhance Pennsylvania’s proven energy resources

May 16, 2024

The Marcellus Shale is undoubtedly one of Pennsylvania’s greatest assets, and one of my highest priorities each session is continuing to leverage our commonwealth’s vast energy resources to grow and sustain our economic development. This includes better utilizing technologies, like carbon capture and storage, to ensure we maximize the opportunities that come with our natural gas reserves.

With the recent passage of Senate Bill 831 in the state Senate, a bipartisan coalition of senators has taken a significant step toward realizing this objective by creating a level playing field for carbon capture and storage to expand in Pennsylvania. As the nation’s second-largest natural gas producer, this vital technology enhances our existing natural gas and manufacturing industries, allowing producers to meet growing consumer demand for low-carbon energy by capturing carbon from heavy industrial facilities before it reaches the atmosphere and storing it deep underground in geological formations abundant throughout the commonwealth.

I supported this important legislation because Pennsylvania communities will benefit economically from greater application of carbon capture and storage. Constructing and retrofitting facilities will provide thousands of good-paying jobs to hardworking Pennsylvanians, many of which don’t require a college degree. Furthermore, these investments will also create new tax revenue streams that will allow us to further invest in our schools, businesses, and infrastructure projects, bettering our communities and improving the quality of life of all Pennsylvanians.

By adopting technology to reduce emissions from prolific domestic energy sources like natural gas, we can maintain our energy security and guard against disruptions in overseas supply chains or conflicts in other parts of the world. We saw during the pandemic how becoming too dependent on overseas production can lead to price increases and economic hardships that impact millions of American families. We must not repeat those mistakes.

Carbon capture can also improve Pennsylvania’s air quality across both rural and urban communities. Recent studies by the Great Plains Institute and Clean Air Task Force demonstrate that, in addition to cutting carbon dioxide emissions, carbon capture and storage also reduces other emissions like sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and particulate matter, resulting in quantifiable health benefits of more than $313 million across our region. Most importantly, this means that millions of Pennsylvanians of all ages can lead healthier lives.

With other states like Louisiana, Texas, North Dakota, and Wyoming already heavily involved in the carbon capture and storage race, Pennsylvania must continue to make progress on establishing a regulatory framework for this technology before our window of opportunity closes and we begin to miss out on valuable investments. If Senate Bill 831 ultimately becomes law this year, Pennsylvania can stay competitive alongside these states, building our reputation as a hub for innovative energy technologies and positioning local communities to secure investments from major international companies looking to expand their low-carbon capabilities.

While we must work toward meeting our commonwealth’s emissions targets, we also can’t completely pivot away from traditional energy sources anytime soon. Carbon capture provides a commonsense solution, allowing Pennsylvania to continue providing our nation with valuable oil and gas resources in the most responsible way possible. As one of the nation’s top energy-producing states, Pennsylvania is well-equipped to take on the challenge of the energy transition, be a pioneering force in low-carbon energy adoption, and realize the benefits carbon capture and storage brings with it.

As a co-chair of the gas and oil caucus, I commend my colleague, state Sen. Gene Yaw from Tioga County, for leading the way on this legislation in the Senate and demonstrating that we can meet our commonwealth’s emissions goals without turning our backs on the industries that provide quality jobs for Pennsylvanians. However, our work is not complete, and we are counting on our House colleagues in Harrisburg to ensure legislation reaches Gov. Josh Shapiro’s desk later this year.

As we look to build a future that is both environmentally sustainable and economically viable, we must continue to find common ground around policies that take an all-of-the-above approach to our energy future and ultimately create a better future for all Pennsylvanians.

Camera Bartolotta is a state senator for the 46th Senatorial District, which includes Washington and Greene counties and a portion of Beaver County.


Observer Reporter
Camera Bartolotta

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