FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Mike Hanna
Hanna says Pa. deserves stronger Marcellus Shale bill
HARRISBURG, Nov. 18 – State Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Clinton/Centre, said this week's passage of Marcellus Shale legislation is a misguided and weak attempt by Republicans to claim they are taxing the industry.
"The Marcellus Shale issue has been front-and-center throughout our commonwealth for many months now. Public polling overwhelmingly supports a tax on the extraction of natural gas much the way it is implemented in other major gas-producing states," said Hanna, who serves as House Democratic Caucus whip. "Unfortunately, the House Republican majority decided that getting any bill passed – even if it's a bad one -- was more important than making sure the multimillion-dollar gas companies pay their fair share of taxes in Pennsylvania.
"This bill is nothing more than an early Christmas present to the big oil and gas industry. By giving counties the ability to implement a paltry 1 percent tax maximum, this bill essentially gives natural gas companies drilling in our state a free pass to impact our water, air and land and then leave the destroyed countryside for future Pennsylvanians to worry about," said Hanna, who voted against the bill.
Hanna also chastised parliamentary maneuvers this week by the House Republican majority that prevented amendments from being offered that would have made the legislation stronger.
"I understand that House Democrats don't have the majority of votes at the state Capitol, but we have a few like-minded individuals on the other side of the aisle who believe like us that the Marcellus Shale issue deserves a full public vetting. Regrettably, Speaker of the House Sam Smith issued a ruling that several amendments were out of order and therefore not subject to debate," he said. "Those amendments would have made the Marcellus Shale bill better by increasing the tax rate, adequately protecting Pennsylvania's air water and land from drilling activities, and removing the provision that limits local control over gas drilling in their communities.
"It seems like Republican leaders in both chambers are happier saying they've passed any Marcellus Shale legislation than making sure a significant and responsible bill becomes law," he said.