We are all devastated by the horrendous actions of President Vladimir Putin and the Russian invasion of the sovereign nation of Ukraine. My heart breaks as I watch videos and footage of families in Ukraine being torn apart. I can’t imagine the stress and fear these displaced families feel when tackling the uncertainty of their future.
We must remind ourselves of some important facts that should remain strong in our minds and hearts as we respond to this crisis. The Russian economy is heavily dependent upon oil and gas. The industry accounts for around 60% of the country’s exports and funds roughly 40% of its government’s budget. Knowing this, would it not make sense to stop funding their economy and stop importing natural gas and oil from Russia? If Russia’s economy is not affected, they will easily maintain the ability to continue their attack on Ukraine.
Let me be clear. I support bolstering our renewable energy through policies and initiatives to increase the availability of solar and wind, but these cannot be our only sources of energy as we remove our reliance on Russian oil. Renewable energy alone could never meet the demands of our country. We must work toward building more of our own natural gas supply to respond to our modern world and current events. These two missions can be focused on at the same time and we can work toward improving both. Why shouldn’t we build up all our energy sources?
Pennsylvania is in a very unique position to do our part and alleviate the domestic demand for oil and gas from Russia and other foreign countries by supporting policies to increase the distribution and availability of Pennsylvania natural gas. Let me explain why. Did you know that Pennsylvania is currently our nation’s number two natural gas producer, contributing 20% to the nation’s entire gas supply? Pennsylvania is also the third total exporter of energy to other states. We must come together and understand the need to build our energy profile as a matter of national security and domestic economic stability. A consumer’s household utility bill may rely on our policies to create affordability and reliability.
There is an urgency in this crisis and as Pennsylvanians and Americans, the impacts of policies play a role in the response. Not only are we working to help and support Ukraine, but we are also working to support Ukrainian Americans in our country who are our friends, neighbors and community members. Pennsylvania is home to the second largest population of Ukrainian Americans in the country.
Will the people of Pennsylvania support their leaders to effectuate change in supporting policies that work toward energy independence? The time is now, and the time is critical. Ask questions, know the facts and let’s work together.
Representative Rosemary M. Brown
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Michelle Swab
RepBrown.com / Facebook.com/RepRosemaryBrown