Gov. Wolf Blasts Republican Energy Committee Chairman Metcalfe, Members for Exploiting Crisis in Ukraine to Line Pockets of the Natural Gas Industry

March 03, 2022

Governor Tom Wolf today blasted state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, the Republican House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee chairman, ​and Republican members of the committee for exploiting the Russian invasion of Ukraine and subsequent humanitarian crisis to increase the profits of the natural gas industry and stand in the way of action to address climate change. 

While the Ukrainian people suffer through deadly bombings and flee for their lives from an unprovoked and unjustified invasion by Russia, Metcalfe sent the governor a letter this week, which was signed by fellow Republican committee members, that called on the Wolf Administration “to do everything in their power to support the growth and proliferation of Pennsylvania’s natural gas and energy.”

Reps. Mike Armanini, Stephanie Borowicz, Bud Cook, Joseph Hamm, R. Lee James, Joshua Kail, Ryan Mackenzie, Tim O’Neal, Jason Ortitay, Kathy Rapp, Tommy Sankey, Paul Schemel, Perry Stambaugh, and Ryan Warner from the committee signed the letter. 

Governor Wolf called the contents of the letter “deplorable” in a response letter to Rep. Metcalfe. He also urged Rep. Metcalfe to review the data before commenting on the country’s energy imports and exports, as well as the seriousness of climate change.

Read the letter to Chairman Metcalfe

Dear Chairman Metcalfe: I am in receipt of your letter dated March 1, 2022 and write to share my disappointment that you are seizing on this moment, and the humanitarian and geopolitical tragedy playing out in Ukraine, in service of your crusade to increase the profits of the natural gas industry and stand in the way of action to address climate change. 

In the face of this grave crisis, instead of expressing concern for the Ukrainian people, or providing suggestions to aid their safety or wellbeing, your concern is for “Pennsylvanians yearning to share our liquified natural gas and energy with those in need.” 

I find your politicization of this tragedy deplorable. As you no doubt know, the United States is a net exporter of natural gas and has increased exports of Liquified Natural Gas to Europe to record levels over the past several years. The United States is currently the largest source of European LNG imports, providing more than half of the LNG imported to the continent in January. Despite your hand wringing about Russian LNG tankers entering American ports, you should be aware that the United States imports virtually no natural gas in any form from Russia. I encourage you to review actual data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration if you are confused about any of these points. 

As governor, I have sought to strike a balance between natural gas development, and environmental protection, and have sought to govern in the interests of all Pennsylvanians. Net natural gas exports from our state have roughly doubled during my time in office, as we have permitted additional pipeline capacity to carry gas to both domestic and international markets. 

At the same time, I have moved forward with measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and diversify and strengthen our grid. This newest effort to halt progress in addressing climate change by linking action on climate to events in Ukraine is simply a continuation of the conspiracy theories you are well known for. Again, I would encourage you to review actual data regarding the seriousness of the climate challenge we face, and the need for urgent action.

We are in a moment of significant import for the world. This is no time for small-minded ideologues or armchair energy experts to attempt to capitalize on tragedy to benefit their benefactors. 

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