Report: Gas drilling industry spent $5.2M lobbying Pa. legislature in 2017

HAVERFORD, March 23 The natural gas industry spent $5.2 million last year in lobbying expenses in Pennsylvania to influence the General Assembly, said state Rep. Greg Vitali, D-Delaware/Montgomery.

Vitali’s report, Marcellus Money and the Pennsylvania Legislature, was first published in the first quarter of 2017. The public report draws from campaign reports, lobbying reports and ethics statements relating to natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania.

The report shows that the industry has now spent $67 million on lobbying activities in Pennsylvania since 2007.

“With this kind of money being spent on the Pennsylvania legislature, it’s not surprising that Pennsylvania is still the only major gas-producing state without a severance tax,” Vitali said.

Another finding shows that there are 203 lobbyists registered as working for the natural-gas industry in Pennsylvania – equal the number of state House lawmakers.

“Other consequences of the undue influence of the gas drilling industry on the legislature include the blocking of conventional drilling regulations, the delay of Governor Tom Wolf’s methane reduction strategy and the blocking of a royalty-protection bill for Pennsylvania landowners,” Vitali said.

The report also indicates that the gas drilling industry made almost $8 million in campaign contributions to the legislature between 2007 and 2017.

“Until Pennsylvania’s campaign finance and lobbying disclosure laws are changed, we can expect the undue influence of the gas drilling industry to continue,” Vitali said.