Energy official makes the case for Trump energy policies

President Trump has his share of detractors.

Thomas J. Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research, is not among them.

He spoke recently to the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce members about the changing energy landscape under the president’s watch.

The policies, he said, have done a lot to help the oil and gas industries, particularly through the removal of unnecessary regulations.

He said those regulations were strangling the energy industry.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, rescinded by Trump, was an example pointed to by Pyle.

He said the plan’s purpose was not so much to protect the environment but rather to prop up the use of renewable energy.

We share his thought that renewable energy has its place, an important place. But the government should not be artificially giving that portion of the industry an unfair advantage while punishing other energy providers.

Pennsylvania remains the nation’s No. 3 coal producer, and that energy asset is being developed with much cleaner environmental practices. The state is one of the nation’s top producers of natural gas, a major economic driver and employment creator.

But Pyle said that can change in a heartbeat with another round of unnecessary regulations and a gas industry severance tax.

Natural gas provides an export opportunity for the state to the nation but it needs more broad-based support, Pyle said, pointing to New York’s moratorium on natural gas drilling.

Implementation of a severance tax could drive the industry from Pennsylvania, Pyle said.

“The margins are thin,” he said. “If companies can go somewhere else, they will.”

Only the most entrenched anti-energy person would want that to happen.

And such a move would have a multiple negative impact on Pennsylvania’s employment rolls, state coffers and consumer costs.

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