Let your legislator know that Pennsylvania needs tough regulation and fair taxation of natural gas from the state's Marcellus Shale deposits.
We believe legislation offered by Reps. Gene DiGirolamo and Thomas Murt, Republicans from Montgomery and Bucks counties, respectively, offers the fairest and best path forward.
The Pennsylvania House and Senate are expected to begin making key decisions on regulating and taxing natural gas from the shale deposits.
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Urge your legislator to support legislation that imposes a substantial, but fair tax on natural gas extracted in Pennsylvania. Urge your legislator to advocate for tough, but fair regulation and oversight of natural gas drilling and distribution.
Revenues should be used for environmental protection initiatives, to help local communities that host drilling operations, and to fund vital social services in the state budget.
We believe proposals offered by the governor through state Rep. Brian Ellis R-Butler County, fall far short of producing a fair revenue stream for Pennsylvania. Ellis's proposal (HB 1950) passed the House Finance Committee by a 15-10 party line vote. Republicans are in the majority.
Ellis's proposal was part of a 127-page bill that also strips local communities of their right to control where natural gas wells may be drilled, and privatizes the permitting process required of natural gas drillers. Permits are currently proces
sed by the state Department of Environmental Protection. We believe this is the wrong approach.
Communities deserve a strong voice in this process. It would be irresponsible to block the persons most affected by the potential negative effects of natural gas drilling from being part of the decision-making.
DiGirolamo and Murt's legislation is comprehensive and fair to the natural gas industry. It provides funds for environmental protection, local communities, and social service programs.
DiGirolamo and Murt see this measure as a compromise among the various pieces of legislation seeking to institute a tax. The tax rate they propose - 4.7 percent - is less than neighboring West Virginia's 6.1 percent and Texas' 5.4 percent.
Urge your House member to support the Murt-DiGirolamo proposal when it comes for consideration as a bill or as an amendment.
All three Pennsylvania annual conferences adopted resolutions during their annual conference sessions this year calling for strong regulation and taxation of natural ga extraction.
Pennsylvania is one of a few states that does not impose a tax on gas at the place where it comes from the ground.