FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Steven J. Santarsiero
Santarsiero: Marcellus Shale fails to protect Pennsylvanians
HARRISBURG, Feb. 10 – State Rep. Steven J. Santarsiero, D-Bucks, said he voted against a plan for a local impact fee on Marcellus Shale gas drilling because the measure fails to adequately protect Pennsylvanians from the effects of drilling.
House Bill 1950 will impose a modest drilling impact fee based on gas prices and give municipal governments limited authority to regulate gas drilling within their borders. Under the bill, only counties with active drilling wells would benefit from revenue collected from the fee.
“We need to hold the drilling industry accountable and make them do their fair share; be environmentally safe and responsible; and help us protect the commonwealth’s resources,” Santarsiero said. “Taking the power from local government officials to protect the health and safety of their communities is not the right way to implement these already inadequate regulations.
“Further, the funding of Growing Greener programs through the oil and gas lease fund promotes a perverse incentive for the state to destroy open space in one area just to fund open space in another.”
Santarsiero said he wished that Democrats had been given a seat at the negotiating table so that they might have had a better chance of addressing environmental issues. He also noted that when the Democrats controlled the House in 2009 and 2010, two responsible Marcellus Shale bills were passed with an extraction tax that would have provided the people of Pennsylvania with hundreds of millions of dollars. The Republican-controlled Senate refused to negotiate and the legislation died.
“I am willing to continue to work with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle and the building to get this right for Pennsylvanians. We have plenty of time this session to come up with a better solution,” Santarsiero stated.