Dr. Zama: Pennsylvania energy must lead

Copyright Eileen Noelle

Recently, in response to Russia’s invasion into Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz halted certification of the Nord Stream 2, the $11 billion gas pipeline across the Baltic Sea, owned by Russia’s state-backed energy giant Gazprom. Completed in September and awaiting final German approval certifications, Nord Stream 2 would bypass the existing transmission pipeline through Ukraine, saving Russia $2 billion in transit fees paid to Ukraine. The geopolitics is self-evident. 

Nord Stream 2 could deliver 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year. That’s more than 50% of Germany’s annual consumption and could be worth as much as $15 billion to Gazprom, the Russian state-owned company that controls the pipeline. Before hostilities started, 10% of Europe’s natural gas arrived via Ukraine.

Today, Pennsylvania produces over 7 trillion cubic meters of gas per year. Pennsylvania is the No. 2 producer of natural gas in the United States, and the U.S. is the No. 1 producer of natural gas in the world. Despite this global leadership, New York’s governor continues to block certification of pipelines that could supply New England with natural gas from Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. As a direct result of New York’s opposition, states in New England buy natural gas from Russia. 

Starting immediately, my campaign and my administration if I am elected governor will work tirelessly to get natural gas from Pennsylvania to New England, other states and allied nations. More than ever, Pennsylvania must be an energy leader and we must adopt policies and programs to strengthen this industry employing hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians. The impacts are staggering. According to the federal government’s EIA pricing report, natural gas prices in the Boston area in December reached upward of $12/Metric Million British Thermal Unit, meanwhile Pennsylvanians were paying in the $3 range.

Despite talk of Russian sanctions over Ukraine, regions in America still buy Russian gas, long-known for its lax environmental standards versus American gas with the strongest environmental protections in the world. 

More than ever, we need American unity in our energy policy. There’s no reason any Americans should be buying Russian gas when America is the No. 1 producer. As governor, we will lead every industry with excellence in everything we do. In energy, Pennsylvania must lead. 

Dr. Nche Zama is a Republican candidate for governor.