Dean, Policy Committee talk Marcellus Shale severance tax in Abington

HARRISBURG, June 2 – State Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Montgomery, hosted today’s House Democratic Policy Committee on a potential Marcellus Shale severance tax in Abington.

Dean and the committee heard from state department officials and representatives from the Marcellus Shale industry on how a severance tax would impact that state, industry and the environment.

“Pennsylvania sits on the richest deposit of natural gas in the world. Last year alone, the industry took $8 billion in value from the ground for profit. Yet Pennsylvania remains the only state that does not have an extraction tax on gas,” Dean said. “As stewards of our natural resources, it is our constitutional responsibility that those resources be used for the benefit of all Pennsylvanians.

“At a time when we face serious budget challenges -- a $1.2 billion dollar revenue shortfall this fiscal year, and a $3 billion budget deficit in the upcoming year -- it is time to pass a reasonable tax on the extraction and permanent taking of our precious resource. It is well past time that the drilling industry pay its fair share; Pennsylvanians cannot afford to wait any longer to pass a reasonable tax on Marcellus Shale.”

Rep. Mike Sturla, chairman of the House Democratic Policy Committee added, “Representative Dean has been working to implement a fair Marcellus Shale severance tax for quite some time now. It’s important that we continue to explore our options. The industry must be willing to pay their fair share to protect our natural resources and maintain and improve the infrastructure they rely on for their profit from Pennsylvania’s natural resources like they do in every other major gas producing state.”

Testifiers included: Pedro Rivera, secretary, PA Department of Education; Dennis Davin, secretary, PA Department of Community and Economic Development; Scott Perry, deputy secretary for oil and gas, PA Department of Environmental Protection; Rob Altenburg, director, PennFuture Energy Center; Jim Wylie, southeastern PA group chair, Sierra Club – PA Chapter; and David Taylor, president, Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association.

Hearing testimony is available at www.pahouse.com/policycommittee