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Pennsylvania Governor Urges Biden to Keep Natural Gas Export Pause Limited

These translations are done via Google Translate
  • Pennsylvania governor has singled out energy as growth driver
  • State also created task force to mitigate threats to election
Governor Josh Shapiro
Governor Josh ShapiroPhotographer: Rachel Wisniewski/Bloomber

Democratic Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro said the Biden administration’s recent halt in liquefied natural gas export licenses should be limited in time, stopping short of outright criticizing a pause that could undermine job creation in a state that’s relying on energy to drive growth.

Pennsylvania is the second-largest natural gas-producing state after Texas, with more than 123,000 jobs in the commonwealth supported by the sector, according to the Marcellus Shale Coalition and the Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association.

“It’s my hope that that pause is limited and that their focus of whatever analysis they’re going to do is centered around making sure we create jobs in the energy space in Pennsylvania,” Shapiro said in an interview in Harrisburg, the state’s capital.

The Biden administration in January halted new licenses to export US liquefied natural gas while it scrutinizes how the shipments affect climate change, the economy and national security.

Administration officials haven’t said precisely how long the pause may be, but White House energy adviser Amos Hochstein said in an interview with Al Arabiya English posted on X on Feb. 16 it could last between 10 and 14 months.

Pennsylvania Senate Democrats Bob Casey and John Fetterman have been more pointed in their criticism, saying in a joint statement last month “if this decision puts Pennsylvania energy jobs at risk, we will push the Biden administration to reverse this decision.”

Shapiro said he’s an “all-of-the-above energy governor,” referring to developing and using a variety of energy resources while focusing on health and safety. He’s also singled out energy as a key driver of growth in a recently unveiled, multi-year economic development strategy, the first such comprehensive plan in almost two decades in the commonwealth.

The governor said he thinks Biden has a good record on energy to run on in Pennsylvania, the state that could decide the 2024 presidential election, and he criticized expected Republican nominee Donald Trump’s rhetoric pledging to “drill baby drill” on his first day in office if elected.

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Election Threats Task Force

Shapiro announced a Pennsylvania Election Threats Task Force on Thursday to help mitigate election threats, voter intimidation and misinformation in a battleground state that became a focal point in the 2020 election. It took four days to count mail-in and absentee ballots and declare Joe Biden the winner amid false claims of fraud by former president Trump.

Unlike in many other states with vote-by-mail use, counties in Pennsylvania can’t begin the time-consuming processing of mail-in ballots until 7 a.m. on Election Day. The protracted counting contributed to the confusion four years ago as Trump and his allies claimed the election was stolen.

Trump has shown an “unwillingness to accept results when it shows him on the losing side, a penchant for lying and making up allegations of fraud, and so it rests squarely with him whether or not we’re gonna have chaos in this election again,” Shapiro said.

A Trump campaign spokesman didn’t respond to a message seeking comment.

Republican Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt, who received death threats for defending the integrity of the 2020 election in Philadelphia as city commissioner, will lead the new state task force.

Turnover is high among county election officials, many of whom faced pressure and threats in recent years. Schmidt said he’s created a training team for newcomers and and focusing on preventing “bad-faith actors” from undermining confidence in elections.

“You can’t stop people from lying, but what you can do is minimize opportunities for them to exploit and exploit in an effort to deceive people,” Schmidt said in a separate interview.

(Adds source for the number of job in the second paragraph.)

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