It’s unclear what the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will do with U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s request that FERC alter the electricity marketplace in favor of certain generating facilities – a proposal that by design would favor some energy sources over others.
Perry says his request to FERC was meant to be a conversation starter. But if it’s a conversation about government tilting the electricity market one way or another, it’s the wrong one.
Indeed, as the secretary tried to explain his FERC order to lawmakers at a House hearing last week he missed the mark when he questioned the reliability of natural gas, the leading fuel for U.S. electricity generation in 2016, and asserted that the natural gas and oil industry receives federal subsidies – it doesn’t.
With talks between the U.S., Canada and Mexico on modernizing NAFTA heading for a fourth round this week, our negotiators can help ensure the global competitiveness of U.S. energy companies by working to retain strong protections for U.S. investments abroad through the agreement’s investment protections and investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provision.ISDS sounds a little wonky, but its basic mission is pretty straightforward: It helps protect U.S. investors from being treated unfairly by host nation governments. Conversely, there’s potential jeopardy if the U.S. allows ISDS to be weakened or removed in the current talks. It could undermine ISDS provisions globally in other treaties and agreements.
We support all-of-the-above energy – the concept that America is strongest and its citizens are best served when all of our country’s energy sources play their part. We’re also for the important role markets play in determining energy sources, because markets reward innovation, spur efficiency, lower prices and work to benefit consumers. That said, a new study that basically argues market-distorting subsidies enjoyed by some energies should be followed by market-distorting subsidies for others makes little sense.
President Trump’s call for tax reform this week, kicking off the administration’s push for pro-growth measures to spur investment, create jobs and raise earnings is one we can certainly understand. The president said:
“We need a competitive tax code that creates more jobs and higher wages for Americans. It’s time to give American workers the pay raise that they've been looking for, for many, many years. … If we do this, if we unite in the name of common sense and the name of common good, then we will add millions and millions of new jobs, bring back trillions of dollars, and we will give America the competitive advantage that it so desperately needs and has been looking for for so long. It’s time.”
No argument here. The natural gas and oil industry is about economic growth: investing, creating jobs and boosting worker pay for years – on the way to supporting 10.3 million jobs while adding $1.3 trillion to the national economy and aiding growth across all 50 states.
Total up industry’s economic contributions to Pennsylvania – helping to support its schools, first-responders, local infrastructure and jobs, lots of them – and it’s a pretty fair amount. But not fair enough for some. Last month a narrow majority in Pennsylvania’s state Senate voted for a $600 million tax increase that would hit natural gas producers and natural gas and electric users while also hiking taxes on communications services – all of which could significantly impact Pennsylvania consumers.