PA Gas Leaders Discuss Proposed Severance Tax

Elk-Co-MarcellusEarlier this morning, three executives from some of Pennsylvania’s top oil and gas companies held a conference call with statewide reporters to discuss their views on how the proposed severance tax, which drillers would pay on the value of the gas taken from a well, could potentially affect their industry and the Commonwealth.

The three executives were Stephanie Wissman, Executive Director at Associated Petroleum Industries of Pennsylvania (API-PA), Lou D’Amico, President and Executive Director at Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association (PIOGA), and Dave Spigelmyer, President at Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC).

Though these individuals may represent different companies, they were unanimous in the feelings that the severance tax would be a major threat to the economic stability of Pennsylvania.

Wissman, who spoke first, was quick to point out how the growth of the oil and gas industry in Pennsylvania has benefited the citizens of the Commonwealth and that continued growth will lead to greater prosperity.

“Today, over 200,000 core and ancillary jobs are associated with the oil and gas industry in Pennsylvania,” she asserted.

Wissman did, however, state that the development of this industry is still far from complete and that the severance tax could prove detrimental to Pennsylvania’s progress.

“Further expansive capital investment is needed and a severance tax could stunt the growth of this very promising industry,” she said. “A misguided severance tax could strangle production, undermine Pennsylvania’s competitive position, and threaten our bright economic future.”

“It seems to me quite strange to single out a single industry, applying a tax to that industry different than any other tax on any other industry in Pennsylvania and equate that with fairness,” Lou D’Amico noted.

Finally, Spigelmyer chooses to discuss the impact the severance tax could have on Pennsylvania’s ability to compete globally.

“If Pennsylvania upset the competitive apple cart, so to speak, we lose capital and we lose jobs.”

During questioning, the officials were asked if they would accept a severance tax at a lower rate than the 5% proposal currently being advocated.

“We are absolutely against any severance tax,” Wissman replied. “We have had conversations with numerous legislators, business leaders, small and large businesses that have a stake in this industry and any kind of severance tax is extremely problematic.”

June 26th, 2014 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Harrisburg, Top Stories | 39 Comments

39 thoughts on “PA Gas Leaders Discuss Proposed Severance Tax”

  1. Unsanctioned R says:

    For the 5th time, I was asking for your viable alternative for offsetting conventional energy. Your Andasol example won’t work here or on 99.99% of the planet. If it was anywhere near hear and you think that it could safely take significant conventional offline, you’re in fantasy land. And the reason it’s so expensive, isn’t just because it’s new, it’s because it doesn’t remove much of the necessary expense of conventional that must be run to prevent system failure when the thing shuts off–as it often would.

    Glad to know you’re fine with destroying sensitive desert environments. But, I’m disappointed to know that whatever the cost to Pennsylvania family electric bills (double, triple, quadruple) the Democrat party platform is to ban gas drilling.

  2. Unsanctioned R-

    I didn’t pick the “sunniest” spot. I just proved you were WRONG that solar would brownout due to clouds/nighttime.

    For the US, there are hundreds of square miles of viable desert that are perfectly adequate for solar + thermal and round-the-clock electricity. The technology is still new, so costs are initially higher, but will come down.

    Also, you keep forgetting that the price avoids the pollution of fossil fuels, which has inherent value. There are no fuel spills, mine collapses, well/tanker explosions, etc. So, the conventional approaches aren’t that cheap when you factor in the side effects and cleanup.

    Wind power is already competitive with coal on price.

    As for your other arguments:
    Giant wind farms act as an integrated system to provide continuous power and would have their own internal/modern “grid” that would connect them to the existing power grid (which is already being upgraded to take advantage of renewable sources). Given the proper size, wind can be constant and reliable.
    Solar+thermal can transmit just as far as conventional and supply peak power on demand in a constant reliable way.

    Also, buildings/houses using solar panels (which do generate some power when it’s cloudy) reduce demands on the grid. So, when it’s sunny (and thus hotter than when cloudy) in the summer increasing demand for air-conditioning, solar panels reduce the load on the grid. Solar photovoltaic costs continue to fall.

    You keep acting like I expect us to switch over to renewables tomorrow. It’s going to take a while, decades, and nuclear fusion should be coming online soon after.

    But, the fracking is just too dangerous/polluting/harmful. It’s “cheap” because it’s not being properly taxed, nor environmentally safe, sticking the taxpayers with future health and cleanup costs. So, it only seems cheap, because the long term costs have been hidden/delayed.

  3. Unsanctioned R says:

    “demonstrably false”?? Give me a break. You choose the sunniest spot on the planet and think that means it’s viable anywhere but there? BTW, you forgot to mention it’s 50% to 100% more $/KWh. So even your best case just doubles everyone’s electric bill (Call Kathleen Kane! The green energy Barrons are trying to get rich off of the masses)

    “If you take a large enough area, it is rarely both cloudy and windless.” But when it is for a couple days (like it often is in winter), you A. cannot transport renewable energy 2 states away because the loss is exponential over distance and that power is needed locally, and B. Unless there’s a constant reliable source, bad things happen, catastrophic things, real quick.

    Renewable energy with current technology is still a bit player…and a very expensive one at that. even the recent Obama stimulus experiment which transferred wealth to subsidize consumer choices proved to be too much for the average family to choose to do it, resulting in failure for so many solar companies. But, liberals want to FORCE us to spend our money on it anyway. The reason to like conventional is that it is 2 things renewable is not: it works and it’s cheap.

    Your hero BO however sees it differently: “You know, when I was asked earlier about the issue of coal, uh, you know — Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. Even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad. Because I’m capping greenhouse gases, coal power plants, you know, natural gas, you name it, whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QWYQgyGMz4
    Our President is out of touch with American families and their budgets.
    Fortunately, we have decades of natural gas reserves. The only real technology that could replace it today is nuclear (fission).

  4. Unsanctioned R-

    If you take a large enough area, it is rarely both cloudy and windless.

    But, solar installations already can (and do) store energy as thermal energy for operations at night. The Andasol 1 plant in Spain has a thermal reservoir that holds enough energy to run 7.5 hours at full load (and nighttime doesn’t require full load, so it can last through the night).

    So, your objection is demonstrably false.

    As for the “backbone” of coal/gas, that can still exist for a short while, but greatly reduced and without the need for extreme types of drilling like fracking.
    We shouldn’t be building new gas/coal plants, but instead ramping up solar, wind, biofuel, wave, etc. and continue to do research in nuclear fusion.

    If we found out that all the coal/gas would be gone in 5-10 years, we’d be putting everything into renewables. Now, it’s going to take longer than 5-10 years for renewables to replace coal/gas, but we shouldn’t keep delaying making a strong effort for renewables.

    The oil/gas/coal industry just wants to make a much profit, and do as little clean-up as they can get away with, so they keep coming up with these canards about renewables, that people like you repeat, to help them delay.

    Renewable energy in the United States accounted for 13.2 percent of the domestically produced electricity in 2012. It has exceeded nuclear.

    Roughly half of that is from hydro-electric, which we obviously can’t scale up. Wind currently produces half as much as hydro-electric, but the wind farming can be scaled up because we just starting, and there is plenty of untapped capacity. There are a lot of projects still under construction, so wind is going to grow fast.

    The break-through for solar is going to come when the research teams use nanotech to find cheaper materials for solar panels. There’s work on producing solar “paint” and also on “printing” solar cells onto paper and plastics, as well as windows that are solar panels. It’s just a question of finding the right materials and techniques. Progress continues.

    Fossil fuels are not a sustainable energy source for the future and renewables don’t generate the pollution and greenhouse gases.

  5. Unsanctioned R says:

    David,
    You seem to be working under the wrong assumption that wind- and solar-dependent electricity generation can somehow offset more than a small fraction of the grid’s backbone. When a region is cloudy or windless, it is simply not possible to transport or store (with todays technology) the amount of energy required to prevent brownouts without a backbone of coal, gas, or nuclear (i.e. reliable) power sustaining the system.
    Although noble, this misunderstanding leads the clueless class to advocate for policies that hurt the poor with high energy costs, without offsetting much conventional energy at all.
    You may want to ban coal, gas, and nuclear, but you have no viable alternative.

  6. Unsanctioned R-

    I stated very clearly that energy use is increasing, and provided the figure from the US dept of energy of 0.7% per year.

    This growth rate can be accommodate by a stronger push and commitment to building/improving solar/wind and other renewables as well in making improvements in efficiency. All the billions wasted on military protection of fossil fuel interests could be put toward freeing us from the need of those fossil fuels. Energy security is a vital national interest, the US should be making a bigger investment like we’ve done in the past for other big projects like the interstate highway system.

    Off-shore wind farms are under construction and will be coming online in the next few years. Cape Wind should be operational in 2016. It is special in that it would offset energy production from the Canal Generating Plant in Sandwich, which uses oil and has been part of two major spills.

    During WWII, the retooled automotive and other factories to produce planes, tanks and ships at a record pace. There is no reason we can’t take abandoned and failing factories and convert them to produce wind turbines and the like.

    The US military is investing in getting more of its energy from renewable sources, like biofuels, or converting coal to liquid synthetics to be less dependent on foreign sources
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_usage_of_the_United_States_military

    These type of commitments should be made for civil power and well as providing power to government buildings, transportation, etc.

  7. Unsanctioned R says:

    To paraphrase the LION:
    “Blah, blah, blah, I have no facts, but hearing you tell the truth and exposing solar’s inability to offset fracking makes me so mad so I’m going to make a bunch of false accusations now.”
    Democrats want high energy prices for poor people. That’s a great reason to not vote for them.

  8. NEWLIBERAL_LION says:

    Unsanctioned R- I got news for you. I know plenty about solar energy and the energy grid. Far more than you! Do you work for the oil companies? And what do you get out of defending them? It never ceases to amaze me when I run into uneducated people like yourselves who willingly line up to see that some billionaire’s lifestyle is just a little bit better than what it is right now. You act like you are going to stop solar energy altogether in the name of your imaginary friend Sarah Palin in the form of drill baby drill. “And if someone breaks environmental laws they should pay the consequence”, you said. As if that’s a bad thing. Can you please tell us the benefits of voting republican, which is something everyone on here knows you can’t do?

  9. Unsanctioned R says:

    Energy use is increasing.
    You live in fantasy land.

    Again with the fusion? Fantasy land.

  10. Unsanctioned R-

    You don’t seem to understand it’s a combination of solar and wind. The wind still blows when it’s dark (It makes a whistling sound as it passes through your head going from one ear to the other).

    People with solar would still be hooked up to a grid that got power from wind, solar in sunny parts of the state, hydroelectric, wave power, and someday nuclear fission). There can still be coal and gas generators, but we’d need fewer and fewer of them.

    As for the drilling, it’s this hydraulic fracking that’s the problem. The industry needs to find a different technique to get the gas in a way that doesn’t poison the people and the environment (or cause earthquakes). My object is to the unsafe method they use to extract the gas. The long term environmental and health costs are going to be more expensive than building equivalent renewable capacity.

    Studies have shown that if COMMERCIAL wind, solar and wave power are generated over sufficiently large geographical areas that the system itself will always have power, even while small sections are in a lull.

    So you still have wind farms, large solar collection (with storage capacity via battery or thermal), wave farms, etc. but also, local homes/businesses with solar panels that don’t drain power from the system when they don’t need it.

    Also, the growth rate of demand in electricity has dropped to about 0.7% per year. This is partially due to demand being offset by efficiency gains from new appliance standards and investments in energy-efficient equipment.

    Renewable energy implementation and use is growing. It could/should be growing A LOT faster, but it’s being held back by the oil/gas/coal industries avoiding fair tax rates (thus artificially lowering their price) while pushing the health/environmental problems/costs on everyone else. And, we aren’t even getting cheap gas anyway, because it’s being shipped off to other countries at higher prices, which raises our prices.

    It’s in our national interest to have power from renewable sources. If we could be free of oil from the mid-East and other areas, we wouldn’t waste lives and billions of dollars in military defense costs to protect foreign oil fields. Those billions could be used to make wind/solar equipment that was used here.

    Eventually, nuclear fusion will replace any capacity that other renewables can’t, and eliminate the need for nearly all coal/gas plants.

  11. Unsanctioned R says:

    David, let’s say everyone is like your friend in Philadelphia. The night after a hot but cloudy day when the batteries are expended and the air conditioning comes on across the city, why isn’t there a blackout?
    The answer is because solar doesn’t make conventional capacity go away [I hear the liberal non-thinking heads exploding], it’s necessary to prevent catastrophic failure…and it can’t just be turned on and off, so all your calculations of savings are “fudged.” That’s how the grid really works. Ironically, gas-electric does turn on and off faster than coal-electric, so that is a silver lining to everyone’s electricity bills being higher (like this winter) when gas is used for heating AND electricity as coal is (unnecessarily) taken offline by the EPA.
    So, since you think, “The state shouldn’t be allowing the drilling in the first place,” what should it be replaced with smart guy?

  12. Unsanctioned R-
    There are several solar power plants in the Mojave Desert. The Ivanpah facility is going to be close to 400 megawatts, and it’s going to use transmission lines. No space travel required.
    (BTW, space based systems would transmit power via microwaves or lasers)

    But your cloudy-day attitude ignores that solar power is evaluated over the course of a year (and solar panels do still produce energy even when it gets a bit cloudy). Every bit of electricity obtained through the sun or wind, is that much less is needed from fossil fuels and less CO2 and other emissions.

    A friend of mine in Philly has solar panels on her house. They end up providing about 1/3 of the energy used overall, and they do charge batteries when power is not needed, for use when needed later.

    Also, local power sources (wind/solar), cut down on transmission losses which are HUGE wastes of energy. If we could create hundreds of more locally generated energy sources, they could be fed into the grid.

    The government estimates about 6% loss of energy through transmission/distribution. That is a lot of energy that is simply wasted. So, it’s more gas/coal/etc that needs to be produced that never makes it to consumers.

  13. Unsanctioned R says:

    John,
    My sentiments exactly, that’s why I reposted the question for you. I asked for VIABLE alternatives.

    Andrew,
    ooh “price inelasticity.” Really? How about this one: profit maximization. That’s where the investments go. Would you bet your job that a 2-3% severance tax wouldn’t “bend the job growth curve downward?”

    David, david, david. You again demonstrate how little you know about the electric grid. Here’s an idea: solar panels in space with a wire tethering it to your house?

  14. David Diano says:

    Unsanctioned R-

    Solar power can be transmitted through wires (it’s called electricity).

    Building can have panels, but also solar plants can be remote.

    Also, some solar designs can store the energy as heat, and convert it back to electricity. There are rapid advanced being made in high capacity storage batteries that will be able to charge when excess power is generated, and then be available even at night.

  15. Andrew Blum says:

    Shale gas development is NOT tax-rate sensitive (it is tax rate inelastic.)

    The ND Bakken Shale producers complained when they were assessed a 11% severance tax, but did any leave to go to neighboring MT with it’s 1.5% tax? NO. production is booming in ND and has waned significantly in MT.

    Cause the drillers go where the resources are, not where the tax rate is low.

    However, shale gas development is VERY gas-price sensitive (it is price elastic.) Production levels consistently peak when natural gas futures increase for example. Or, as is the case now with the existing gas glut in the US, production is not keeping up with expectations at all. (PA is a perfect example of this behavior.)

    Transfer pricing avoids all local and state corporate taxes, so their effective corporate tax rate in PA is effectively 0%. The only income the drillers provide the state is a per-well fee which can ultimately equate to a rate of less than .10% on particularly high production.

    By disingenuously rebuffing a severance tax at any rate, the industry representatives are only trying to protect their bottom line. This is due to the long-anticipated increase in gas prices (which will only come sooner now that export restrictions are being relaxed.)

    This is exclusively about the bottom line for an industry that is going to stay in the Marcellus Shale basin until the economically feasible gas runs out. Bottom line.

    A modest (2-3%) extraction tax based on market value will scale with production rates unlike the current fee.

    If gas prices increase as expected, this will benefit PA citizens to the tune of 1 Billion dollars a year by 2020. And if implemented today would double expected revenue (200–>400M) for 2015 compared the current fee structure.

  16. To paraphrase:

    Arguing with someone who doesn’t read your posts is like administering medicine to the dead.

  17. Unsanctioned R says:

    John,
    Conventional power has “a place” on the grid? That’s rich!
    I’ll repeat the question: What earth-friendly, VIABLE energy source would you like to replace fracked gas with?

    As to alternative energy not being harmful, I think the kids in. The third world who mine the heavy metals would disagree.

  18. As I’ve already said, Unsanctioned R, solar is NOT a panacea. There are DIFFERENT strategies for different areas. Conventional power generation certainly has a place on the power grid. I’ve NEVER argued to the contrary, but you make it sound as though solar and wind are completely useless and, in fact, harmful. That is patently false to anyone without a political motivation to argue otherwise.

  19. Unsanctioned R says:

    John, The solar you describe is not viable for maintaining a reliable electrical grid. When it’s cloudy and that office wants to stay open, an operating power plant has to be hot and running already to be ready to provide power when the switches come on. If not…
    Basic fundamental misunderstanding of how we provide reliable power. Gotta provide for peak demand at a moments’ notice.

    (It’s the Democrats who always seem to have problems with solar collectors, Btw.)

  20. @ Larry,

    First of all, that is a gutless and dishonorable use of the details of someone’s personal life in a pathetic attempt to win a political argument. You and your parents should be ashamed.

    Second, you can be charged for simple assault in Pennsylvania for pushing someone.

    Third, some people deserve to be assaulted. Your actions this day certainly qualify, in my opinion.

  21. Actually, in all fairness, Unsanctioned R, solar power technology is available these days that will still provide power even after the sun goes down. There are two methods for this. The first is to store power generated during the day in batteries, which, in all honesty, is not very efficient, but it works. The second is the solar tower, which uses the heat generated from the sun to spin wind turbines. At night, after the sun has gone down, it is still hot enough within the greenhouse-like structure to continue generating power. This, of course, is only useful in certain areas, however. The important thing to note is that there are different strategies that will work in different areas. Office buildings, for example, can make excellent use of conventional solar power due the fact that they are generally occupied during the day. At night, other more conventional sources of power can fill the greatly diminished demand by those working overtime.

    Seriously, some of the arguments and policy ideas of both parties are bad enough without you having to exaggerate for political purposes.

  22. Unsanctioned R says:

    David,
    People understand the speeding analogy just fine.

    Just for the record and as a measure of your intelligence, you’re saying today’s solar (which turns off when there’s no sun and takes 2 years to produce the power it took JUST to recover the energy expended in melting the silicon) and wind (which indiscriminately kill hundreds of thousands of birds, burn for days when hit by lightening, because they’re expensive lightening rods, and also don’t work when the wind doesn’t blow hard enough) are the viable alternatives for supporting a reliable energy grid?
    And PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE tell me the name of the company producing the pixie dust chambers that can contain the fusion of the magic beans, because that’s where I want to invest.

    The rest of your opinions, per usual, are long on accusation but short on evidence.

  23. Tax both gas and coal.

  24. Unless I am mistaken, Pennsylvania has never charged a severance tax on coal extraction, and that industry has clearly done far more damage to the land than gas extraction ever will. Why would we effect a special tax upon one industry and not another? We already benefit greatly from the presence of the gas industry in Pennsylvania. We shouldn’t double-dip. Find the money somewhere else.

  25. Unsanctioned R-
    I wasn’t taking about speeding ticket fines, where the average driver is not a major contributor to the people running the show. But, in the case of the oil/gas industry there is very little enforcement and the fines are trivial (ie not in any way a deterrent against bad behavior).

    As for renewables, they are ramping up quickly, but that pace could be accelerated, by taxing the non-renewables and putting that money into renewable replacements. Wind power is pretty good. Solar is not bad in this area, but quite excellent in states like Nevada, Arizona, California, etc. Biofuel production is also improving. The Solar-Roadways project looks promising (even if they just do it on parking lots) But, in the long-term, nuclear fusion will power the bulk of the country in a few decades.

    But, my problem is not with the use of gas itself, but the blatant disregard for public safety, the pollution, the health impact, and the way the industry is subsidized with low taxes (because they can afford to pay off elected officials). How much destruction of people and the environment is acceptable (and why should the industry get to do it at a discount)?
    The wells have a leak/failure rate of 5%-7%, which can lead to contamination of aquifers. So, poisoning our water supplies is not an acceptable result for the fracking gas. The industry has repeatedly lied about the dangers, and suppressed information.
    If they want the gas, they need to find a safer way to get it out of the ground.

    Ross-
    “upon the same class of subjects” so that means it’s the same within an industry, but does NOT have to be the same for unrelated industries. You completely misunderstood your own quote.

  26. Unsanctioned R says:

    Isaac, I can tell from your answer that you don’t make many business decisions, sign paychecks, or reinvest profits anywhere.

    Since David refuses to answer, I’ll take answers from anyone: What earth-friendly, viable energy source would you like to replace fracked gas with?

  27. Ross Schriftman says:

    A tax picking on one industry may violate Article Viii, Section 1 of the PA Constitution.

    “All taxes shall be uniform, upon the same class of subjects, within the territorial limits of the authority levying the tax and shall be levied and colleted under general laws.”

    I the legislature wants to levy a 5% tax against one industry they will have to do it for all others including law firms, lobbying firms, etc.

  28. Isaac L. says:

    Well, there’s always Article I, Section 27 of the PA Constitution.

    Also, let’s put it this way: if you have the option of paying a five percent tax on a million dollars, or one percent tax on $50,000, you’re going to take the five percent on a million every day. We have the goods. I’d also be happy if we taxed natural gas the same way we tax coal – the property tax break they get because of a technicality puts natural gas at an unfair competitive advantage against coal.

  29. Unsanctioned R says:

    That’s your best evidence? You must love Michael Moore movies. I never knew you were so conspiratorial.

    Pennsylvania taxes are already too high and by comparison.

    Fines are low for small infractions. How many times have readers skated on going 1 mile over the speed limit?

    Still would like to hear what earth-friendly viable energy source David Diano would run the world off of.

  30. Unsanctioned R-
    They are constantly breaking environmental laws, and in rare instances when the get caught, the fine is trivial. Where they can, they bribe lawmakers and regulators to weaken the laws, or get their own lobbyists appointed, or simply refused to divulge the toxic ingredients to the public.

    These drilling operations contaminate aquifers and spread far beyond the properties they are drilling upon. They fail to disclose to the property owners the dangers. In many cases, when the property owner do sue them (for health or because their land is now contaminated) the companies settle out of court, with gag orders on the plaintiffs to hide the extent of the problems.

    From Wikipedia:
    “Severance taxes are incurred when non-renewable natural resources are extracted (or severed) within a taxing jurisdiction. Resources that typically incur severance taxes when extracted are oil, natural gas, coal, uranium, and timber. Some jurisdictions use other terms like gross production tax.

    Note that severance taxes are used in jurisdictions where most resource extraction occurs on privately owned land and/or where sub-surface minerals are privately owned (for example, the United States).[1][2] Where the resources are publicly owned to begin with (for example, in most Commonwealth and European Union countries), it is not a tax but rather a resource royalty that is paid. In the case of the forestry industry, this royalty is called “stumpage”.”

    Go visit http://www.friendsoftheharmed.com/terry-greenwood.html
    This Pennsylvania resident just died a few weeks ago from a rare form of brain cancer, and their are clusters of new cases near where he lived.

  31. Unsanctioned R says:

    The new liberal lion doesn’t know much about solar or the energy grid. You probably think the energy companies are conspiring against us so that we don’t find out about miracle beans we put in our gas tanks. And if someone breaks environmental laws they should pay the consequence.

    David, here we go:
    “You seem to have missed the point (once again). These natural resources (particularly the ones under the state parks are forests) are part of our CommonWealth. This is not like private property where you don’t want your neighbors in your swimming pool.”
    There you go again changing the subject. Who was talking about private lands? And drillers are paying directly for that gas, why does it need to be taxed too? Just put it in the contract.

    “1) The state has a right to tax the extraction of this natural resource”
    Since the SC ruled on Obamacare, apparently the government can tax your heartbeat. Doesn’t mean they should.

    “2) The state shouldn’t be allowing the drilling in the first place because of the direct harm to the environment and the health of citizens nearby.”
    Please share a study quantifying these direct harms and comparing them with any other viable energy source you would prefer. BTW, I think we should ban cars because they kill 50,000 Americans a year.

    We should be growing our economy so that the tax base grows, not using double taxation on growing industries supplying jobs and revitalizing communities.

  32. PA Politico says:

    Why is it that everyone talks about these companies taking natural resources from Pennsylvanians like we all collectively own them. Unless they’re drilling on public land, they’re taking these resources from private property owners and those people are be compensated for it. They are compensating Pennsylvania for the gas they’re obtaining from beneath public lands.

    If you want a severance tax, that’s your call, but everyone needs to stop acting like every cubic foot of natural gas belongs to every Pennsylvanian because it doesn’t.

  33. NEWLIBERAL_LION says:

    A friend of mine was forced to bulldoze over toxic sludge up in Bradford County working for one of those companies. After six months of having a guilty conscience he couldn’t do it anymore. The Republican Party is going to turn this state into a toxic waste dump. The Republican Party destroyed my family’s solar energy business back in the 70’s. We could’ve had an environmental revolution in this country years ago. When Carter was president he had solar panels on the White House. When the gipper was president he took them down. Don’t tell me about competing globally. The royalty checks are dwindling and people who lease their property away foolishly don’t realize what they’re doing when they sign their rights away. All they see is dollar signs pop up in their eyes like a cash register going ‘cha-ching’! Wolf should shut down the whole dam thing on day one in office.

  34. Unsanctioned R-

    You seem to have missed the point (once again). These natural resources (particularly the ones under the state parks are forests) are part of our CommonWealth. This is not like private property where you don’t want your neighbors in your swimming pool.

    1) The state has a right to tax the extraction of this natural resource
    2) The state shouldn’t be allowing the drilling in the first place because of the direct harm to the environment and the health of citizens nearby.
    3) But, if the state is going to make the mistake of allowing the drilling, they should at least get tax revenue for the people of PA. There are going to be HUGE cleanup and health costs due to fracking down the line. The Dems want to collect money to help the schools, but they should be doubling the tax and putting it toward clean up of abandoned wells and other forms of cleanup.

  35. Unsanctioned R says:

    Seems most, Sid especially, have a problem with personal property rights. What’s greedy is thinking others’ need to pay you because their property is so desirable. Ironically, hypocritical Sid would feel right at home in China.

  36. CentPADem says:

    I think this story needs something clarified. These 3 people are NOT gas company executives. They are employed by pro gas lobbying firms and thus are lobbyists. They are paid to say what they industry wants them to say.

  37. David Diano says:

    Proposed correction #1

    “they were unanimous in [THEIR LYING] that the severance tax would be a major threat to the economic stability of Pennsylvania.”

    Proposed correction #2
    “We have [BRIBED] numerous legislators”

    Also….

    ““Today, over 200,000 core and ancillary jobs are associated with the oil and gas industry in Pennsylvania,” she asserted.”

    This “assertion” flies in the face of an analysis found on Keystone Politics, which states that “all natural gas employment, all coal employment, and employment” account for only about 37,500 jobs in PA.
    http://www.keystonepolitics.com/2014/06/coal-mining-fracking-responsible-less-0-6-pa-employment/

    The “ancillary job” add-on is the industry bullsh*t fudge factor of several times the real number. It likely includes prostitutes for the workers (many of whom are actually non-Pennsylvanians from out-of-state), and food trucks, and maybe all the lawyers and lobbyist fighting to keep polluting and raping the state.

  38. Sid says:

    Tough s****. These greedy bastards are making millions from PENNSYLVANIAN’s natural resource. Don’t like it, then drill in China.

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