PennFuture calls on legislature to Keep the Promise to pass severance tax on drilling in Marcellus Shale
Failure not an option as Senate returns from summer recess
(Harrisburg, PA – September 20, 2010) – PennFuture President and CEO, Jan Jarrett, today called on the members of the Pennsylvania legislature to keep the promise to pass a severance tax by October, a promise made to taxpayers when the budget was passed in July.
“Proposals to place a severance tax on the extraction of Marcellus Shale gas have been before the General Assembly for the last two years. Various committees have held numerous hearings, and the House actually passed a severance tax in October of 2009 and sent it to the Senate where it died,” said Jarrett. “It’s time – no, it’s past time – for the House to send a politically viable severance tax to the Senate and for the Senate to act on a fair and reasonable tax that raises significant revenue for environmental programs, impacted communities and the people of Pennsylvania.”
“Politics as usual could doom the tax,” continued Jarrett. “Disputes among House Democrats over how much goes to the General Fund and how much goes to other purposes should be settled by now. And the Senate Republicans must refuse to attach controversial “poison pill” issues like forced pooling to the passage of the tax, a move that would ensure its defeat.”
“Everybody knows that the gas drillers have invested millions to either kill a tax altogether or, failing that, getting a tax that will not be enough to compensate for the environmental and community impacts of drilling. If the General Assembly fails to keep this promise, Pennsylvania taxpayers should be as outraged as they were at the infamous midnight pay raise.”
Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture) is a statewide public interest membership organization that advances policies to protect and improve the state’s environment and economy. With offices in Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, West Chester, and Wilkes-Barre, PennFuture’s activities include litigating cases before regulatory bodies and in local, state and federal courts, advocating and advancing legislative action on a state and federal level, public education and assisting citizens in public advocacy. PennFuture has experts and attorneys, outreach workers and communicators, lobbyists and educators, all working with local groups and citizens across the state to adopt and enforce great public policy. The organization’s motto is “Every environmental victory grows the economy.” The Philadelphia Inquirer called PennFuture the state’s “leading environmental advocacy organization.”