Gas industry spent $1.3M lobbying Pa. legislature in 2nd quarter of 2017

HAVERFORD, Aug. 3 The natural gas industry spent $1.3 million lobbying the Pennsylvania General Assembly during the second quarter this year, state Rep. Greg Vitali, D-Delaware/Montgomery, announced today.

The latest figures, based on a review of the quarterly lobbying reports filed by 43 gas companies in Pennsylvania, also show that those companies spent more than $35,000 in gifts to undisclosed recipients in the second quarter.

Range Resources spent $166,420 in lobbing – the highest among drilling companies, followed closely by Marcellus Shale Coalition, who spent $154,033.

The second quarter numbers raise the total lobbying expenditures to more than $2.7 million in 2017.

According to Vitali, the gas industry has now spent over $65 million dollars lobbying Pennsylvania government in the past decade.

These lobbying efforts along with campaign contributions have resulted in legislation favorable to the gas industry, Vitali said.

Vitali said that a damaging provision contained in the proposed Pennsylvania Tax Code, which passed the Senate last week, would privatize the environmental permitting process and allow gas drillers and other applicants to seek permit approval from third parties rather than the Department of Environmental Protection.

Another provision in the Tax Code bill would allow a politically appointed advisory committee to decide on air quality permits for unconventional gas well sites. This provision is a direct attack on the methane reduction strategy proposed by Gov. Tom Wolf in January 2016.

According to former Republican DEP Secretary David Hess, these two changes would “…emasculate the ability of the Department of Environmental Protection to regulate pollution under any of its programs.”

The fact that Pennsylvania is the only major gas producing state in the nation without a severance tax is a direct result of the money the gas industry spends on the legislature, Vitali said.

A copy of Vitali’s report: “Marcellus Money and the Pennsylvania Legislature” can be found at www.pahouse.com/Vitali/.