Webster Advocates Moving to More Sustainable Energy

By Emily Scott, Public News Service
For The Posts

COLLEGEVILLE PA – As Pennsylvania residents continue to feel pain at the pump amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Perkiomen Valley state Rep. Joe Webster of the 150th House District is among clean-energy advocates who claim the situation is a prime example of why the country needs to find more sustainable energy sources beyond oil and gas.

Although Russian oil makes up only about 4 percent of daily oil usage in the U.S., Webster said it still has a global impact. He argued the volatility of the market, combined with nations using it as a tactic against Putin, speaks to the need for the U.S. to move toward energy sources such as solar and wind.

“If you realize fossil fuels are the funding source for Putin’s war in Ukraine, in the short term and in the long term, solutions to our crisis right now and to gas prices begin with reducing our reliance on fossil fuels,” Webster contended. His district includes Skippack and Lower Providence townships and Collegeville Borough, and parts of Upper Providence and West Norriton townships and Trappe Borough.

Some Pennsylvania lawmakers have proposed suspending or reducing the state’s 57.6-cent gas tax per gallon, the highest in the nation. Opponents claim that would not address the larger reasons for the rise in gas prices, such as the nation’s dependence on importing crude oil.

Webster said passing clean-energy provisions in the proposed Build Back Better Act is one step that could be taken on the federal level. In Pennsylvania, he said, adoption of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative – a multi-state cap-and-invest program to cut carbon emissions – also could help.

“What oil and gas companies have done for 100 years in Pennsylvania is leave the trash in our woods,” Webster pointed out. “Their cost of business should include cleaning up their waste products. By using the initiative, we force the market to sort of pay for that carbon left in the air or the spill left in the ground.”

Next Tuesday (March 29, 2022), the state Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee will hold a joint hearing with the Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee to discuss the initiative’s economic impacts. Some lawmakers oppose the initiative, saying it would hurt the state’s economy.

Editor’s note: Webster and state Rep. Nancy Guenst co-authored a guest editorial opinion column published Thursday (March 17) by PennLive and The Patriot-News of Harrisburg, titled “The path to defeating Putin lies in ending our dependence on fossil fuels.” It’s available online, here.

Photo via Adobe Stock, provided by Public News Service under license and used with permission