Berks, rest of U.S. need help with affordable energy

Winter is coming – but many Berks County residents and other Pennsylvanians may not be ready for what it will bring… and I’m not talking about snow.

As the weather gets colder the cost of heating your homes tends to rise. It is the heating season. Going into this winter fuel oil, propane and natural costs are already very high. The sticker shock will hit many in Pennsylvania very hard. What makes this situation even more frustrating is that this state is the second largest producer of natural gas in the nation. Natural gas has been and should be an economic driver for Pennsylvania. Marcellus and Utica shale gas supplies more than half of the state’s homes with natural gas.

The sad truth is that these dramatic increases in the cost of fuel oil and gas are being driven by the Biden administration’s policies which amount to an attack on the natural gas industry here, and home owners who can’t afford it are paying the price .

As a Berks County commissioner, I am proud of the role Pennsylvania plays in heating, fueling and powering our nation. We have county residents who work and make a good living in the energy industry, and people across Pennsylvania have benefited from the tax revenue collected from oil and gas operations, with the majority going to transportation, conservation and finance. to finance and support countless others. benefits.

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But as winter approaches, fears of an energy crisis in Berks and beyond are taking hold as energy demand outstrips supply and prices continue to rise. The average price of a gallon of gas in Pennsylvania is hovering around $4 a gallon now. While it’s down from the all-time summer peak of over $5, it’s still well above previous years. Home heating oil is nearly $6 a gallon, up 85% from just 12 months ago. Many Pennsylvanians have had to tighten budgets, reduce savings and cut back on travel just to pay their high energy bills. This is not good for our economy or our future.

Supply chain issues are exacerbated by rising energy costs. Rising fuel prices have not only affected travel but all forms of transport. High fuel costs have affected anything transported by truck, train or ship, resulting in an increased cost of food, health care supplies and other necessities. Industries from manufacturing to hospitality have been affected, and the scene doesn’t seem to be over.

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The most obvious solution to our county’s energy crisis is to increase energy production here at home. America is rich in natural resources, and Pennsylvania has long been a vital energy producing state. Our nation’s energy production provides large amounts of tax revenue, contributes greatly to our economy at all levels, and creates reliable jobs for communities across the country.

Unfortunately, the White House seems more concerned with a political agenda than making sure Americans can afford to heat their homes this winter. I am not against alternative energy sources. We must be using all the options – wind and solar as well as oil and natural gas. The United States has the energy resources so let’s use them to help our people and give our economy a much needed boost.

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The United States achieved energy security beginning in 2019 when it became a net energy exporter for the first time in more than 50 years, maintaining that position until 2021 when President Joe Biden took office. Since then, our domestic production has declined thanks to White House actions such as enacting a federal drilling ban and canceling and delaying critical infrastructure projects such as the Keystone XL pipeline and leases in Alaska.

Even as many Americans wonder if they can afford high energy costs this winter, the White House is focused on how the US can provide money to help developing countries fight climate change .

We need to refocus on the needs here at home. People here and across the country are being ravaged by inflationary pressures on food and energy. These are the people we need to worry about. We need real solutions that address the energy and price crisis before it’s too late, not environmental posturing that hurts the wallets of Americans everywhere, including here in Berks County.

Leinbach is a Berks County commissioner

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