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Elected Leaders Call on Corbett to Look Out for Taxpayers, Not Oil & Gas Donors

Elected Leaders Call on Corbett to Look Out for Taxpayers, Not Oil & Gas Donors

‘Start putting Pennsylvania taxpayers first,’ say 47 officials from Greene to Elk to Luzerne to Montgomery Counties
 
PITTSBURGH: Dozens of elected officials representing municipalities and counties throughout Pennsylvania today sent a letter to Republican gubernatorial nominee Tom Corbett asking him to put Pennsylvania’s taxpayers before his major donors in the oil and gas industry.
 
“In the towns, cities and counties that many of us are elected to serve, we are already seeing wear-and-tear on our roads as a result of the heavy equipment that the industry requires,” the 47 leaders wrote. “We don’t want our taxpayers to be stuck with the bill to fix these infrastructure challenges.
 
“And for all of us – those in the Marcellus Shale region and those outside it – protecting the drinking water of the families in our communities is a top priority and a deep concern.  We need proper oversight so that our water is safe to drink and our rivers are not polluted.”
 
Corbett opposes a severance tax like all other gas-producing states already have, so that the oil and gas industry can police itself and force residents and other businesses to bear the costs of drilling. Even Corbett’s allies in the Senate Republican caucus have agreed to enact a severance tax and 12 House Republicans voted for a severance tax last week, putting Corbett in the extreme wing of his party.
 
The letter from local elected leaders asked Corbett: “Please put Pennsylvania’s taxpayers first and do not leave us – and our tax-paying constituents – to pay for all the costs while the gas drillers make hundreds of millions of dollars from our natural resources.”
 
A May report by Common Cause Pennsylvania revealed that Corbett is the #1 Pennsylvania recipient of contributions from the gas industry over the last decade. The oil and gas industry also helped save Corbett’s political career during his initial tight race for Attorney General in 2004. At the time, Corbett refused to reveal the source of nearly a half-million dollars funneled through the Republican State Leadership Committee, but campaign finance filings later made clear that the bulk of it was from the CEO of an Oklahoma oil-and-gas company.
 
“Tom Corbett is so desperate to protect his Big Oil & Gas donors that he launched an attack ad criticizing Dan Onorato for trying to hold the gas drillers accountable,” said Onorato Communications Director Brian Herman. “But while Tom Corbett looks out for his campaign donors, it’s Pennsylvania’s local-elected leaders and taxpayers who are paying the price and bearing all the risks.”
 
Onorato has issued a detailed policy paper calling for the successful and safe development of Marcellus shale resources in order to create jobs for Pennsylvanians, foster economic development and protect the environment. His plan includes environmental safeguards and a workforce development strategy to ensure that Pennsylvanians are ready for Marcellus shale-related employment.
 
Onorato backs a competitive severance tax on Marcellus shale drilling, and he would use the proceeds to fund enforcement by the Department of Environmental Protection, to help local communities address the impact of drilling on their roads and other services, and to pay for the renewal of Growing Greener – the state’s major environmental conservation and preservation programs.
 
A life-long Pennsylvanian, Dan Onorato was raised in a working class neighborhood on Pittsburgh’s North Side. He graduated college from Penn State and received his law degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Onorato has served as Allegheny County Executive since 2004 and was unopposed for re-election in 2007.  Prior to being elected County Executive, Onorato served as Allegheny County Controller and a Pittsburgh City Councilman.  Dan and his wife Shelly reside in the Brighton Heights neighborhood of Pittsburgh with their three children.

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October 6, 2010
 
Tom Corbett
Corbett for Governor
200 North Third Street, 13th Floor
Harrisburg, PA  17101
 
Dear Mr. Corbett:
 
As locally elected officials from across the state, we believe the Marcellus Shale is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Pennsylvania.  We can grow our economy, create local jobs and preserve our natural resources – but only if it’s done right.
 
But your plan will protect Big Oil & Gas at the expense of taxpayers in our communities, and we are writing to ask you to start putting Pennsylvania taxpayers first.
 
In the towns, cities and counties that many of us are elected to serve, we are already seeing wear-and-tear on our roads as a result of the heavy equipment that the industry requires.  We don’t want our taxpayers to be stuck with the bill to fix these infrastructure challenges.
 
And for all of us – those in the Marcellus Shale region and those outside it – protecting the drinking water of the families in our communities is a top priority and a deep concern.  We need proper oversight so that our water is safe to drink and our rivers are not polluted.
 
As the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association recently reported, over the last 2 ½ years, drilling companies have been cited for 1,500 environmental and safety violations in Pennsylvania.  The Pennsylvania State Police have found “significant increases in heavy truck traffic in areas where Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling operations are taking place” – and in one 3-day enforcement period this summer, they ordered 250 vehicles to be taken off the road and kept out of service.  The oil and gas industry cannot be allowed to police itself. 
 
This does not have to be a partisan issue.  Many Republicans – including the Senate Republican leadership and 12 members of the House Republican caucus – agree that there should be a severance tax, just like every other major gas-producing state already has.
 
Please put Pennsylvania’s taxpayers first and do not leave us – and our tax-paying constituents – to pay for all the costs while the gas drillers make hundreds of millions of dollars from our natural resources.
 
There’s a common-sense approach that will enable us to develop the potential of the Marcellus Shale and protect Pennsylvania’s taxpayers.  We hope you will stop sticking up for your Big Oil & Gas donors and instead look out for Pennsylvania taxpayers.
 
(List of Signers Attached)

Local-Elected Officials Signing Letter to Tom Corbett

Phil Krivacek, Mayor 
Duquesne (Allegheny County)
 
Rich Hrivnak, Mayor 
Plum (Allegheny County)
 
Dominick Pomposelli, Mayor
Wilmerding  (Allegheny County)
 
John Dindak, Mayor  
West Homestead (Allegheny County)
 
Don Baumgarten, Mayor       
Castle Shannon  (Allegheny County)
 
John Thompson, Mayor         
Wilkinsburg (Allegheny County)
 
Mark Vogel, Mayor   
Braddock Hills (Allegheny County)
 
Louis Payne, Mayor   
East Pittsburgh (Allegheny County)
 
Greg Erosenko, Mayor           
Monroeville (Allegheny County)
 
Nicholas Yanosich, Mayor     
Industry (Beaver County)
 
Debbie Giska Rose, Mayor    
Conway (Beaver County)
 
Francis Szatkiewicz, Mayor   
Ohioville (Beaver County)
 
Diane Ellis-Marseglia, Commissioner
Bucks County
 
Thomas Trigona, Mayor         
Johnstown (Cambria County)
 
Bill O’Gurek, Commissioner 
Carbon County
 
Kathi Cozzone, Commissioner          
Chester County
 
Josh Maxwell, Mayor 
Downingtown (Chester County)
 
Leo Scoda, Mayor     
Phoenixville (Chester County)
 
Carolyn Committa, Mayor     
West Chester (Chester County)
 
Mark McCracken, Commissioner      
Clearfield County
 
Richard P. Viello Jr., Mayor  
Lock Haven (Clinton County)
 
Joel Long, Commissioner       
Clinton County
 
C. Sherman Allen, Commissioner      
Crawford County
 
George Hartwick, Commissioner       
Dauphin County
 
Jayne Young, Mayor  
Lansdowne (Delaware County)
 
Ronald Beimel, Commissioner          
Elk County
 
Blair Zimmerman, Mayor       
Waynesburg (Greene County)
 
Jeffrey Pisarcik, Commissioner          
Jefferson County
 
Mike Washo, Commissioner  
Lackawanna County
 
Corey O’Brien, Commissioner           
Lackawanna County
 
Rick DeBlasio, Commissioner           
Lawrence County
 
Steve Craig, Commissioner    
Lawrence County
 
Ed Pawlowski, Mayor           
Allentown (Lehigh County)
 
Mary Anne Petrilla, Commissioner    
Luzerne County
 
Tom Leighton, Mayor
Wilkes-Barre (Luzerne County)
 
Judith Church, Commissioner
McKean County
 
Bonnie Heath, Mayor            
Pottstown (Montgomery County)
 
Joe Hoeffel, Commissioner    
Montgomery County
 
John Stoffa, County Executive         
Northampton County
 
Sal Panto, Mayor       
Easton (Northampton County)
 
Mantura Gallagher, Commissioner    
Schuylkill County
 
Francis McAndrew, Commissioner
Schuylkill County
 
Pamela Tokar-Ickes, Commissioner   
Somerset County
 
MaryAnn Warren, Commissioner      
Susquehanna County
 
Bracken Burns, Commissioner           
Washington County
 
John Lignelli, Mayor  
Donora (Washington County)
 
Tom Balya, Commissioner     
Westmoreland County

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