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Energy action is energy leadership

Sometimes bipartisan leadership happens at surprising times. Such was the case on Oct. 26, when state lawmakers – nearing the end of this legislative session – overwhelmingly passed legislation to support the development of a hydrogen energy hub in Pennsylvania. The $50 million annual tax credit for a regional hydrogen hub was part of a larger package aimed at boosting family-sustaining jobs and economic development across the commonwealth, largely through energy production.

That’s real energy action to help secure the Keystone State’s position as the nation’s leader in a new energy future.

I applaud the state legislature for its decisive bipartisan action for Pennsylvania’s economic future, and I believe it sets a strong example for the kind of energy leadership we need to see from our elected leaders – both in Harrisburg and in Washington, D.C. To be sure, Pennsylvania is well-positioned to be the nation’s premier energy producer for generations to come – not just because of our rich existing energy portfolio, but because of our potential for dynamic growth in innovative new energy solutions.

Hydrogen is one such energy solution that holds tremendous potential. It is a zero-carbon fuel that can be produced using a variety of different methods.

That’s why it’s so important that our elected officials act now to prioritize Pennsylvania workers, families, and communities as we build the next generation of energy production facilities. A regional hydrogen hub in Pennsylvania would help power our economy and strengthen our communities with hundreds of millions of dollars in new investment.

There has never been a moment more critical than now to ensure Pennsylvania maintains its place as the nation’s energy beacon.

The federal Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) that was approved earlier this year will invest $369 billion in funding for clean energy technologies and help the United States meet its carbon emissions reduction targets. Pennsylvania stands ready to gain a sizeable portion of that funding, but we need real energy action by our elected leaders to make that happen, And the IRA is only the start. At both the federal and state levels, we will need our elected leaders to be Pennsylvania’s energy champions, advocating and voting for legislation that will create jobs for Pennsylvania workers, ignite our economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

It’s a pragmatic approach that includes hydrogen, advanced nuclear, carbon capture and storage, renewables, and responsibly-sourced natural gas with carbon capture. It’s a common-sense, “all of the above” strategy that works for Pennsylvania and will keep us at the front of the energy pack.

We just need our elected leaders to be champions for Pennsylvania’s energy future.

Because whether you’re a Democrat, a Republican or an Independent – we should all be champions for Pennsylvania workers and families.

Rob Bair is President of the Pennsylvania State Building and Construction Trades Council

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