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States with key congressional races on the ballot next year are among those with booming fossil fuel industries that generate billions of dollars in economic activity each year, providing an avenue for rising energy costs and President Biden’s climate change policies to become top campaign issues.

A report released Tuesday by the American Petroleum Institute, the leading lobbyist group for the oil and natural gas sector, showed Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York — all of which have pivotal House and Senate races in 2024 — are among the top six states with the highest economic contributions from traditional energy sources. 

Democratic Sens. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania are up for reelection in battleground races that will be crucial for their party to maintain its one-seat majority in the upper chamber. In New York, House Republicans need to hold onto swing districts like those represented by Reps. Mike Lawler and George Santos to keep their slim majority.

API’s study, which was conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers based on government data, showed Pennsylvania’s oil and natural gas sector generates $75 billion annually for the state’s economy — the third most of any state. New York is fourth at roughly $70 billion and Ohio is sixth at $55.5 billion.

Two other energy-rich states are also home to some of Senate Democrats’ most vulnerable members: Jon Tester in Montana and Joe Manchin III in West Virginia. The economic impact of Montana’s fossil fuel sector accounts for 12.7% of its GDP, according to the API report, while West Virginia’s is 15%.

The economic figures include the direct and indirect impact of oil and natural gas, such as jobs, labor income and value added in both the industry and throughout its supply chain.

API President and CEO Mike Sommers said the analysis of fossil fuel contributions, which nationwide nearly equate to Canada’s annual GDP, serves as a reminder that “we need policies and regulations that encourage investment and enable development.”

In total, API says the natural gas and oil sector, directly and indirectly, supports nearly 11 million jobs and contributes almost $1.8 trillion to the U.S. economy.

API Media Relations Director Christina Noel said energy is “why senators like Manchin, Tester and Casey are carefully navigating” their states’ political landscapes in their reelection bids.

Household energy costs remain elevated and gasoline prices, which are at a national average of around $3.50 per gallon, are expected to rise during the busy annual summer travel season in the months ahead. 

Republicans will again make energy a central focus of the campaigns, pinning the higher costs on President Biden’s environmental agenda and regulations. Through ongoing negotiations over raising the debt ceiling and slashing the federal budget, House Republicans are demanding that permitting legislation to streamline the approval of new energy projects be included in any agreement. 

Mr. Manchin, despite helping to write and pass the Democrats’ tax and climate spending law last year, is locked in a bitter feud with the administration over its implementation. He accuses top officials of prioritizing liberal climate activists over U.S. energy security.

In GOP-forced votes in recent months, Republicans have successfully pitted him and other vulnerable Senate Democrats against Mr. Biden’s climate and energy policies, at times prompting Mr. Manchin, Mr. Casey, Mr. Tester and Mr. Brown to break with Mr. Biden.

The latest split came earlier this month when Congress passed legislation to reimpose Chinese solar tariffs that were suspended by Mr. Biden. The tariffs won Democratic support because they would crack down on China and support domestic clean energy manufacturing. Nine Senate Democrats — including Mr. Manchin, Mr. Casey, Mr. Tester and Mr. Brown — sided with Republicans in the vote.

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