Keller briefs the House at legislative breakfast | News, Sports, Jobs
Energy independence, hyperinflation, workforce development, seawall, and Williamsport Regional Airport’s continued search for a commercial carrier so it can reopen.
These were among the hot local topics discussed by U.S. Representative Fred Keller, R-Kreamer, on Tuesday during his visit with members of the Williamsport-Lycoming Chamber of Commerce at the Chamber Legislative Breakfast at the Williamsport Country Club. .
Offering a searing critique of President Joe Biden’s administration on most issues, Keller focused on national energy policy, explaining how the state’s abundance of oil and natural gas must be unleashed to reverse a sliding scale in terms of the nation’s rebound from the COVID pandemic.
Lycoming County Commissioners Scott Metzger and Tony Mussare, as well as State Rep. Joe Hamm of R-Hepburn Township, paid close attention to his remarks.
Travel to West Texas
Keller discussed his recent tour with the Western Congressional Caucus of various oil and natural gas drilling sites in West Texas’ Permian Basin, comparing the efforts of producers there to the once-dominant Marcellus industry. Shale in Pennsylvania.
“You know, every day Pennsylvania’s 12th congressional district (15 counties) produces up to 10% of the country’s dry natural gas,” he said.
Freeing up US energy, lowering energy prices, controlling inflation and building a stronger workforce are other points he discussed.
American energy is key to fighting inflation, but when the White House discusses leases, the problem is that these landowners need permits and the industry is over-regulated.
Overregulation is not how “you operate your business”, he said.
“We must rebuild America’s energy dominance by lifting the federal freeze on new oil and gas projects, accelerating pipeline approvals, and establishing a regulatory environment where domestic producers can thrive,” he said.
“Nothing in America can be produced without energy, and it should – and must be – American energy,” Keller also said recently in an opinion piece.
He told chamber members how the visit provided producers with insight into some of the cutting-edge solutions they are implementing to reduce carbon emissions and market America’s energy in a cleaner, more efficient way.
He met with representatives of Glenn O. Hawbaker on a table in the room, discussing the high cost of diesel fuel and the energy policy that is hurting the company’s bottom line.
Education and labor
Keller emphasized the importance of the Skills Enhancement, Improved Learning, and Livelihoods (SKILLS) Act. This legislation connects people who have been laid off during the pandemic to career opportunities in high-demand fields such as long-term care, transportation, energy and other essential industries experiencing labor shortages. ‘work.
Likewise, Keller discussed the Connecting Higher Opportunities In College Education (CHOICE) Act. This bill helps more students in short-term vocational programs (150 hours of instructional clock over a period of eight weeks or more), including vocational, on-the-job, and skills-based options. other workforce readiness options.
Keller said the federal government was spending at a rate that would lead to a budget deficit of $45 trillion in 2032.
“You look at what the government is starting to have to pay for money and that’s really going to be a problem unless we cut that spending,” he said.
A new report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed this month that inflation jumped 8.5% over the past year, the fastest year-over-year rate since 1981. Meanwhile, purchasing power is rapidly declining as Americans will need to earn $5,000 more this year just to keep up with what they could afford last year.
Seawall, airport and workforce development
Locally, Keller has been involved in the recertification of the Greater Williamsport flood levee, efforts to attract a commercial carrier to Williamsport Regional Airport, and the passage of bills intended to provide educational benefits and workforce training opportunities.
The county and city of Williamsport, along with the chamber and others, remain strong partners in the costly effort to recertify the seawall built in 1955 and designed before that and protecting an estimated $4 billion to $5 billion in real estate assets. in Greater Williamsport. devastating floods and residents and industries paying for expensive flood insurance.
The chamber contributed $500,000 to the levee recertification process because 80% of commerce in the county is protected by the levee system, according to chamber CEO Jason Fink.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to conduct a risk assessment as municipalities also assess their use of nearly $50 million in U.S. bailout funds, some of which can be used to fix gaps and perform repairs. long-term repairs required for accreditation and certification. from the dike.
Recent yield estimates for the replacement of some relief wells on the levee system which were originally $2 million have been estimated at $6.7 million.
“Williamsport and South Williamsport (Old Lycoming and Loyalsock Townships) cannot do this alone,” said Mussare.
Keller praised the local dollar contribution to the levee’s recertification.
And, over the next eight months that he will remain in office, Keller has promised to continue working on the same goal as the Williamsport Municipal Airport Authority – finding a commercial airliner to serve the airport and area.
The airport remains closed to all commercial air service.
Supply chain issues
For auto dealers, chip manufacturing, much of which is done overseas, such as in Taiwan, is a problem.
Keller said one possible solution would be tax credits offered to companies to manufacture products in America.
It’s similar to what happened with the developing cracker plant in Beaver County, he said.
The plant will take oil and gas and break them down into smaller molecules to create ethylene, which is used in making plastics – hence the name cracker.
“We managed a supplement” he said, referring to Ukraine’s law on additional appropriations to provide aid and equipment to Ukrainians so that they can defend themselves against attacks by the Russian army.
However, the package had additions such as COVID relief and some immigration elements in the legislation, he said.
Keller, who started out as a businessman, told the busy audience “You are the ones making this happen,” personally visiting each member from table to table.