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Senate Approves Bills To Expand Natural Gas Infrastructure

Two bills aimed at expanding natural gas infrastructure to rural and under-served areas in the state were passed by the Pennsylvania Senate on Wednesday.  The legislation originated after realizing that a large part of Pennsylvania is not served by natural gas, even though the state hosts one of the largest natural gas deposits in the world.  Senate Bill 738 would require natural gas utility companies to submit a three-year plan to the Public Utility Commission outlining plans for expansion.  The bill will also allow for the accelerated expansion of projects at the request of residential, commercial, or industrial entities, and provide a cost-spreading plan for customers.  Senate Bill 739 would amend the state’s Alternative Energy Investment Act and provide $20M for grants to schools, hospitals, and small business for access to natural gas.  Such grants could provide up to half of the cost of a project.  The bills will move to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for further consideration.