Moving Pennsylvania to the Head of the Energy Market
9/6/2007
House Republican Policy Committee hears testimony from energy experts at public roundtable discussions
 
Making Pennsylvania a leader in the field of energy was the subject of a series of roundtable discussions held this week by the House Republican Policy Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny).
 
The committee met with energy experts Wednesday at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and today at the Crawford County Extension Office in Meadville.
 
“We’re conducting these roundtable discussions to build our knowledge base," Turzai said. “Pennsylvania has the potential to be a leader in the energy field. The House Republican Policy Committee has held several energy roundtable discussions throughout the state in order to hear directly from energy experts on which policies will help move Pennsylvania toward energy independence."
 
Reps. Michele Brooks (R-Crawford/Lawrence/Mercer) and Scott Hutchinson (R-Butler/Venango) co-chaired today’s roundtable discussion.
 
“Today, we had the opportunity to bring energy experts to the table to talk about possible energy solutions for the future of Pennsylvania, solutions that do not include additional fees and taxes," said Brooks. “We wanted to bring everyone to the table so that we could formulate a sound, proactive energy policy for Pennsylvania."
 
The House Republican Energy Task Force, an arm of the House Republican Policy Committee, has been investigating ways to help lower energy costs for consumers, create jobs and increase domestic production without increasing taxes or borrowing.
 
“In order to develop energy policies that will have a positive effect on the future of Pennsylvania, we need to hear from those who work in the field day in and day out," said Hutchinson. “The information they have provided us is an invaluable resource."
 
To refine and frame a complete package of energy legislation that promotes true energy independence, House members heard testimony from experts in the field of energy manufacturing, efficiency, research and alternative resources.
 
While ideas varied, House members and panelists agreed that a comprehensive energy independence strategy that puts Pennsylvania at the forefront of the energy industry must include:  
  • Establishing new sources of energy generation that are both economically and environmentally stable.
  • Making Pennsylvania a competitive environment for employers.
  • Producing our indigenous fossil fuels in economical and environmentally responsible ways.
  • Creating and sustaining good-paying jobs in the energy industry.
  • Helping businesses succeed in a competitive energy market.
  • Lowering energy costs to consumers. 
Panelists discussed the possibility of repealing the gross receipts tax as an effective way to lower energy costs for consumers.
 
Also discussed was the use of energy co-ops. Currently, there are 13 electric distribution cooperatives in Pennsylvania. These co-ops serve homes, businesses, farms and seasonal residences in 41 counties.
 
Linda King, business development manager for the Northwestern Rural Electric Co-operative Association, said that these co-ops operate according to the following principles: 
  • Voluntary and open membership.
  • Keeping control in the hands of the customers.
  • Member economic participation.
  • Autonomy and independence.
  • Continuing education.
  • Cooperation among cooperatives.
  • Concern for the community.
 “You [Northwestern Rural Electric Co-operative Association] truly are doing it right; you’re working with the consumers and coming up with a plan that works for both you and the consumer," said Brooks.
 
“Looking for alternative energy is extremely important, and the information we receive today is an important step in formulating tangible solutions," said Rep. Kathy Rapp (R-Forest/McKean/Warren). “However, until we have those alternative methods in place, I believe it is very important that we continue to use the resources that we have in oil, gas and timber."
 
“We have to look at all the alternatives that we have and work both for short-term and long-term solutions," said Rep. Brad Roae (R-Crawford).
 
Gov. Ed Rendell has called for a special session on energy policies to begin Sept. 17. The House Republican Policy Committee will continue to hold energy roundtable discussions throughout the state and will unveil its plan for true energy independence in the near future.
 
Rep. Mike Turzai
28th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

(412) 369-2230
www.RepTurzai.com
Contact: Tricia Graham
House Republican Public Relations
(717) 260-6296
www.pahousegop.com