Gene Yaw

Gene Yaw

LEWISBURG — Getting the state’s often-touted natural gas to customers more easily and in greater quantity will be a priority in 2022.

So noted Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23), chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.

“Natural gas is very important to Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania economy,” Yaw said. “Our biggest problem in Pennsylvania is that we don’t have the distribution system — mainly pipelines — to get our product out to market.”

Natural gas production in the state has been going up consistently, Yaw said, even though there was a lull in new drilling over the last 18 months. New well drilling, once an indicator of high natural gas prices, may not be the signal it used to be.

“The technology that is involved in drilling wells now compared to 10 years ago or 15 years ago is the difference between night and day,” Yaw said. “When I first became involved, it took 45 days to drill a well. They are now drilling a well in seven days.”

Fewer “holes” are being drilled, Yaw observed, with longer “laterals” used in the drilling process.

“(That) is good for the environment,” he said. “That means there are less well pads and less surface disruption.”

Yaw said Senate Bill 275, also known as “Energy Choice,” has been incorrectly framed in some reports. He said it would merely prevent municipalities from making choices for residents rather than amending building codes to only allow all-electric homes as has been reported.

The real choice, Yaw added, ought to be left to the customer.

“It prevents (municipalities) from choosing ‘winners’ and ‘losers,’” Yaw said. “It leaves it up to the customer to say, ‘This is what I want or don’t want.’ We tried to make that very clear that our bill is different than what a lot of states have done.”

In the 23rd District, Yaw said there are 144 municipalities. Building homes or other structures would be far more difficult if each adopted an environmentally “friendly” power source. Statewide, it could lead to chaos.

“We have 2,400 or 2,500 municipal governmental entities in Pennsylvania,” Yaw said. “If you have 2,400 different versions, how could you develop anything? How would we have any energy plan whatsoever.?

Yaw offered additional thoughts on legislative pay raises, the safety of the state’s elections and authorizing radar use by local law enforcement. They will be covered in an upcoming edition of The Standard-Journal.

Staff writer Matt Farrand can be reached at 570-742-9671 and via email at matt@standard-journal.com.

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