Senate Community, Economic & Recreational Development Committee Hold Hearings to Explore Economic Impact

HARRISBURG – This week, the Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee held a pair of hearings on the economic impact of Pennsylvania’s technology and energy infrastructure, according to Senator Bob Mensch (R-24), who is a member of the committee.

“The last year has been very difficult in terms of our economy and jobs. To get back on track, it’s important to focus on how technology and infrastructure can positively impact our economy in significant ways,” Mensch said. “I look forward to continuing to work together with my fellow legislators and businesses across the Commonwealth to find ways to improve our technology and energy infrastructure. We live in what I refer to as the energy economy. We have an entire world relying on energy and we need to figure out the best ways to use the available resources that we have.”

“As we move on from the pandemic, it is an important time to talk about our economy, and the reliability of two important economic components – technology and energy,” said Senator John Yudichak, Chair of the Committee. “Pennsylvania’s economy cannot recover without sound technology and energy infrastructures. Our workforce depends on this framework to create jobs and stimulate economic recovery.”

The Committee convened for two days of hearings in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

On Tuesday (April 13), the committee hosted the hearing and a tour at the vXchnge Data Center in Philadelphia on technology infrastructure. The hearing featured panelists who are affiliated with the data center industry:

  • Steve Weaver, vXchnge, Senior Vice president of Sales
  • Mike Grigalonis, President of the PA Economic Development Association
  • William Lowry, Managing Director, Exelon Utilities Strategy
  • Steve DelBianco and the Honorable Barbara Comstock, NetChoice
  • Bob Cresswell, Hartzel & Buehler, Inc

You can watch day one of the hearings here.

The second day of hearings on energy infrastructure (April 14) was held in the 24th Senate District, which Mensch represents, at Veritas Medical Solutions. Prior to the hearing was a tour of the Philadelphia Steamfitters Local Union and a tour of Veritas Medical Solutions. The April 14 hearing featured panelists who are affiliated with the petrochemical industry:

  • Tim Ratcliffe, Chief Operating Officer, Veritas Medical Solutions
  • Hilary Mercer, Vice President, PA Chemicals Project and Shell Polymers
  • Joseph McGinn, Energy Transfer, Vice President of Public Affairs
  • Chris Ruggiero, Vice President & General Counsel, Monroe Energy
  • Jim Snell, Business Manager, Steamfitters Local Union 420
  • John Bland, Boilermakers Local 13
  • Jim Gaffney, Goshen Mechanical

You can watch day two of the hearings here.

“A necessary shift is taking place in the way we power our nation. We understand the urgent need to protect our environment and address climate change, but we also need to protect our manufacturing and related industries – and the good-paying jobs they provide. The transition won’t happen overnight,” said Jim Snell, Business Manager of Steamfitters Local Union 420. “There is still a tremendous need for the traditional energy sources that power our everyday lives and provide the materials needed to create the products we rely on daily. Petrochemicals are still used in a wide array of household products. Moreover, American energy and the many products it creates have never been more critical, as we continue to confront the global health-care crisis caused by this pandemic.”

For more information on Senator Mensch’s legislation, visit www.senatormensch.com.  State updates can also be found on Senator Mensch’s Facebook at facebook.com/PASenatorBobMensch/ or Twitter @SenatorMensch.

CONTACT: Madison Scarfaro mscarfaro@pasen.gov  (215) 541-2388