Harrisburg, PA – According to a statewide poll of registered voters, Pennsylvanians are pessimistic about the state’s future and want state leaders to address surging energy costs.
The survey found that voters overwhelmingly believe the state’s most pressing issue regarding energy and the environment is rising energy costs—voters were about three times as likely to identify costs (59%) as they were environmental consequences (16%) when approaching energy—and 77% said that their household electric bills have gone up over the past year.
Voters also support (69% to 21%) building more local pipelines to transport natural gas to homes and businesses, easing the strain on our electrical grid and reducing our state’s energy costs. Although almost three-quarters of Pennsylvanians are unfamiliar with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), support for participation in the program erodes immediately upon learning it will result in higher utility bills and lost jobs.
Respondents, however, lack confidence in the state’s outlook. A plurality of Pennsylvanians (46%) say they expect Pennsylvania to be worse off in one year; only 40% said they expect it to be better.
“Pennsylvanians are suffering from inflation and higher energy costs, and we are receiving little relief from elected officials who are beholden to special interest groups with a political agenda,” Commonwealth Foundation Executive Vice President Jennifer Stefano said. “Voters are sending a clear message that they want to take advantage of our abundant natural resources. Lawmakers should heed their constituent’s needs, not close the door on opportunities that will lower prices and provide better paying jobs for many in the region.”
Pennsylvania is the second largest net supplier of energy to other states, after Texas, “Pennsylvanians are hamstrung by elected officials who are openly hostile towards energy production and who pursue misguided policies, regulations, and market-distorting subsidies,” Stefano said. “These combine to drive up prices while eliminating local jobs.
“Pennsylvanians are not extremists when it comes to energy,” she said. “We’re sensible people. We want a clean environment, and we want it protected, of course. But we are rightly concerned about costly policies with questionable benefits that financially hurt us and our families.”
According to Stefano, voters want Democrats and Republicans to work together to reduce energy regulations that stifle production and drive-up energy prices, and Gov. Shapiro can be a leader to bring lawmakers together to:
- Withdraw from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to save tens of thousands of jobs and prevent a massive increase in electric utility bills,
- Call on the state legislature to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot that will disallow a governor or unelected bureaucrats to unilaterally create costly regulations without getting approval from the legislature, and
- Reform and streamline the permitting process and clear the way for developing much-needed pipelines.
“These are sensible energy policies that most Pennsylvanians support,” Stefano said. “These policies will bring down energy costs and ease the economic hardships facing too many working families across our state.
“This survey provides lawmakers the insights they need to get started,” she said.
Read the full survey results here.
Commonwealth Foundation’s Jennifer Stefano is available to discuss rising energy costs and ways the legislature and new administration can address the crisis. Contact Stefanie Mason at [email protected] or (414) 418-5132.