February 14, 2012
What follows begins an occasional series of editorials that we will be excerpting or running in full from newspapers around the state. We're doing this to provide readers (and ourselves) a deeper perspective on state issues, and as a reminder that Philly is part of Pennsylvania, though we sometimes pretend it's not. The following is from Matthew Major, opinion editor of the Chambersburg Public Opinion: THE Pennsylvania Senate voted last week to enable an optional fee to offset environmental and infrastructure damage caused by Marcellus Shale natural-gas drillers, sending the bill for a House vote that could place the bill on Gov. Tom Corbett's desk this week.
February 12, 2012 |
When legislators agreed last week to charge impact fees for the natural gas industry, generating millions of dollars, the money came with a catch. The measure also imposed statewide zoning and land-use rules for pipelines and wells - summarily killing off dozens of local land-use ordinances in the process. Gov. Corbett had pushed hard for the measure, saying the industry needed standardized rules to flourish. The governor wrote a Jan. 31 letter to top legislators saying some communities had actually banned drilling, depriving citizens of "jobs, income and the enjoyment of their property rights.
December 2, 2011
IN MANY PLACES, caution is the byword when it comes to gas drilling. Last week, the Delaware River Basin Commission, made up of the governors of four states, postponed a vote that would allow drilling in regions near the Delaware - a vote most likely derailed when Delaware Gov. Jack Markell announced he wouldn't be supporting it. In New York, a moratorium on drilling expired in July, but no permits or licenses are being issued pending the release...
October 21, 2011
Here's another sign that Gov. Corbett's Marcellus Shale drillers' fee idea isn't ready for prime time: Counties hosting gas drilling rigs may have to wait a year to see their first dollar in revenue from the governor's proposed impact fee. In addition, it looks as if there aren't nearly enough gas-producing wells yet to generate the $120 million that Corbett expects from his levy in the first year. Not only would Harrisburg be letting drillers get off without paying a type of tax imposed by every other major drilling state, but even aid meant to cover gas-related impacts could be undercut.
September 20, 2011
In a perfect world, Gov. Corbett would not be unalterably opposed to a severance tax on natural gas extracted by the booming Marcellus Shale industry. Pennsylvania would be able to join every other major gas-producing state and collect a modest charge on the value of gas produced. The extra money would help offset the stern budget cuts that he and the Republican-led legislature inflicted on public schools, higher education, and the safety net for the needy. But Corbett is adamantly opposed to a severance tax on shale gas. He has not been persuaded by polls showing strong majorities of Pennsylvanians support it - 69 percent in a June survey by Quinnipiac University.
September 19, 2011
By Marguerite Quinn When the legislature reconvenes this month, it will consider more than 100 proposals specific to a gas-drilling industry that could drive Pennsylvania's economic recovery and pave the way to energy independence. Most deal with environmental protection. A growing number would impose a tax, fee, or both on the extraction of natural gas. And many are in line with the recent findings of the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, which recommended that drillers pay impact fees.
July 16, 2011 |
HARRISBURG - Gov. Corbett's advisory panel on drilling in the Marcellus Shale endorsed a long list of recommendations Friday on how to deal with the burgeoning industry, including imposing a local impact fee - not a tax - on the extraction of natural gas. The 30-member commission also tacitly threw its weight behind the controversial practice of "pooling," which effectively allows a drilling company to force holdout landowners to...
July 15, 2011 |
HARRISBURG - Gov. Corbett's Marcellus Shale advisory commission has recommend that Pennsylvania impose an impact fee, rather than a tax, on the extraction of natural gas. The 30-member commission this morning also approved a long list of other recommendations for how to deal with the burgeoning drilling industry, including providing financial incentives for encouraging the use of natural gas. But its decision on whether to have any sort...
May 26, 2011
When is a fee a tax? When Grover Norquist says so. The Inquirer reported last week that antitax guru Norquist was the wizard behind the Oz-like fiscal contortions of the GOP-controlled Pennsylvania legislature, which has refused to consider raising revenue of any kind. It was Norquist and his D.C.-based group, Americans for Tax Reform, who advanced the "no tax" pledge signed by hundreds of elected officials, including Gov. Corbett and 34 members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.