GOP US House candidate Rob Bresnahan defends fossil fuel industry interests - TAI News
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Pennsylvania Republican U.S. House candidate Rob Bresnahan has attacked incumbent Democratic Rep. Matt Cartwight and President Joe Biden over their handling of the oil and gas industry. Bresnahan’s financial disclosures indicate that he holds tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of fossil fuel company stock.

Bresnahan, a wealthy venture capitalist, is challenging Cartwright for the 8th Congressional District seat. The northeastern Pennsylvania district includes Scranton and Wilkes-Barre. 

“Matt Cartwright had the opportunity to stand up for working men and women in the energy industry across Northeastern PA but decided to cowtail [sic] to Joe Biden and the climate crazies by voting to halt the exporting of LNG,” referring to liquified natural gas, Bresnahan tweeted on March 7. “When I am in Congress, I will always stand with PA oil and gas workers and for American energy independence!”

Bresnahan was referring to a January decision by the U.S. Department of Energy to temporarily pause new authorization requests for liquified natural gas exports to countries not already part of free trade agreements with the United States, in order to allow for an evaluation of “market, economic, national security, environmental considerations, including current authorized exports compared to domestic supply, energy security, greenhouse gas emissions including carbon dioxide and methane, and other factors.” The department noted in a fact sheet that this would not raise prices for consumers and cited 2023 Energy Information Administration analysis that found “higher LNG exports create a tighter domestic natural gas market (all else held equal), increasing domestic natural gas prices.” 

Cartwright voted against a GOP bill in February that would lift the pause; it passed 224-200 in the House, but has not come up in the Senate.

Bresnahan’s campaign site contains no issues page, though in his November 2023 kickoff video he criticized rising consumer prices and vowed to end inflation. A spokesperson did not immediately respond to questions about his positions on fossil fuels and the climate. 

A Pennsylvania Independent review of Bresnahan’s personal financial disclosure statement showed that he has a personal financial interest in fossil fuel companies. His investment accounts include more than $30,000 worth of stock in Exxon Mobil and more than $1,000 of stock in each of at least 20 other oil and gas companies, including ConocoPhillips, Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Occidental Petroleum, Pacific Gas & Electric, Phillips 66, Southern Company, and Valero.

According to the United Nations, “Fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas – are by far the largest contributor to global climate change, accounting for over 75 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and nearly 90 per cent of all carbon dioxide emissions,” posing a significant risk to life on Earth.

Cartwright has been a vocal critic of price gouging by Big Oil companies, voting for a 2022 bill to crack down on the practice. The bill passed in the House, but died in the Senate. “There is no excuse for multinational oil companies to make record-high profits off the backs of working people in northeastern Pennsylvania,” a campaign spokesperson said in October 2022. “Matt Cartwright is working for us, helping to unleash our domestic energy potential while going after price-gougers looking to rip us off.”

He has also pushed to boost domestic energy production in ways that will not damage the climate. “In addition, we have to increase our domestic fuel production in a responsible way, and we can create good jobs as we do it,” he wrote in a July 2022 op-ed. “Of all of the things that people in our area understand, it is the vital importance of ensuring that energy extraction cannot despoil our land, air and water.”

Cartwright voted for the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, a health care and climate infrastructure package that included several provisions to make clean energy more affordable for consumers. Millions of Pennsylvanians are eligible under the law for rebates on heat pumps, electric appliances, and solar energy panels, and grants to state and local governments to improve building energy standards are expected to save new Pennsylvania homeowners an average of $341 a year on utility costs.

The Cook Political Report rates the 8th Congressional District race a toss-up.

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