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PennEnvironment Blasts Senate Republicans for Reneging on Marcellus Shale Severance Tax

PennEnvironment Blasts Senate Republicans for Reneging on Marcellus Shale Severance Tax

Statement of David Masur, PennEnvironment Director
[Philadelphia, PA] – Today, PennEnvironment voices its disappointment with the Republican majority in the state Senate for reneging on its agreement to pass a Marcellus Shale severance tax this fall, as they promised in this summer’s budget agreement.
While every-day Pennsylvanians hand over our hard-earned tax dollars to the state’s coffers, the Senate Republicans have decided to give companies that make billions of dollars, companies like ExxonMobil and Halliburton, a free ride.  The Senate Republicans have shown that they are more concerned about standing up for the interests of out-of-state gas companies than they are for their constituents who are in-state taxpayers.
After nearly twenty-four months of public debate, legislative hearings across the Commonwealth, and ongoing media attention, Pennsylvania will remain the only major gas drilling state in the nation that does not have an extraction fee for the valuable natural gas that is removed from under its land. PennEnvironment has been calling for a commonsense severance tax that is comparable to that of other states for more than a year.
Responsibility for this inaction falls wholly on the Senate Republicans since the party controls the chamber and they could call a vote at any time. On three separate occasions the state House voted and sent the state Senate a natural gas severance tax, and on three occasions the state Senate’s response was to oppose it, remove it and bury it so that it would never see the light of day.
Instead, the state Senate has chosen to leave town as a substitute for finding a way to get the severance tax done before the session officially ends on November 30.
Pennsylvanians need the partisan bickering in Harrisburg to end, and we need the Senate majority to get back to Harrisburg and do the people’s work—not just spend the people’s tax dollars.
PennEnvironment is shocked and appalled that the Senate Republicans broke their promise and did not approve a commonsense severance tax this fall and we are confident that their constituents feel the same way. As a massive state budget short fall looms and important programs face dire economic straights, our Republican Senators turned a blind eye to the fiscal plight facing Pennsylvania by walking away from the table instead of implementing a Marcellus Shale severance tax.

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