WELLSBORO, Pa. (WETM) – In hopes to lower prices at the pump, the Biden administration is resuming oil and gas drilling in nine states. Pennsylvania lawmakers are now blaming Governor Tom Wolf for being left out of, what some are calling, a great opportunity.
“There’s no reason that we couldn’t lead on this issue whatsoever. We can, we should, we would, if we were able to if the Governor would let us,” said Rep. Clint Owlett.
Biden’s plan is to allow on-shore drilling on 144-thousand acres of land to lease sales across the chosen states.
Pennsylvania Republicans have been urging Biden to increase energy production domestically for months. Currently, it is the second-largest natural gas producer in the U.S.
“We have resources… We have an abundance amount of resources right here in the Northern Tier. We could be supplying several other states…Our state is currently under a misguided moratorium from Governor Wolf,” said Owlett (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter).
The Wolf administration moratorium, Owlett is referring to, prohibits any new leases for oil and gas drilling in the state. He believes that this moratorium hindered Pennsylvania’s chances of being looked at seriously, as one of the states that could have harbored the domestic oil drilling projects.
With House Bill 2461, Owlett is proposing to end the moratorium. The Bill has already passed in the state House and now goes to the Senate for consideration.
“We’re hoping that he will reengage in the conversation and open up some state leases…Fill in some of these holes that we know are across the Northern Tier, and help drive down some of these natural gas prices,” Owlett said explaining his bill.
This pressure on rising gas prices is what pushed Biden to go back on his campaign promise when he said,
“No more drilling on federal land. Period, period, period,” on February 9th, 2020.
Though, Owlett agrees on the severity of the situation.
“We have heard from a lot of constituents who are very concerned about this, that are having trouble putting food on their tables because of these excessive gas prices,” said Oweltt.