The Pennsylvania House of Representatives today will vote on implementing fees and regulations for hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale field. The other chamber voted on a similar measure earlier this week.
The House version of the legislation, which follows the standards put forth by Gov. Tom Corbett, imposes a decade-long fee structure, starting at $40,000 per well in the first year, decreasing to $10,000 annually in years four through 10. The Senate proposal imposes fees over two decades starting at $50,000 per well in the first year, decreasing to $10,000 annually in years 11 through 20.
The following statements from energy and environment experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below or contact Tammy Nash at firstname.lastname@example.org and 312/377-4000. After regular business hours, contact Jim Lakely at email@example.com and 312/731-9364.
“When the House and Senate resolve the differences between their two bills in conference, they would be wise to keep in mind that any impact fee should reflect the actual ‘impact’ of Marcellus drilling. Of the two proposals, the House bill does a better job of meeting that standard and recognizes that the natural gas industry already pays the state a substantial amount under Pennsylvania’s 10 percent corporate income tax rate.
“These fees should be imposed at the county level with the majority of the funds being directed to localized impacts. Many legislators outside of natural gas-producing counties would like to see this money used for seemingly worthy, but completely unrelated, statewide programs. Doing so would unfairly target the industry for greater revenue under the guise of impact remediation.”
“When you add everything up, Pennsylvania is one of the most expensive states in the nation to drill for natural gas already. Making it even more expensive to do so by adding a severance tax is short-sighted and counterproductive. Pennsylvania should be celebrating the billions in revenue and the tens of thousands of jobs associated with the Marcellus Shale drilling rather than looking for ways to poison the wells.”
“Pennsylvania is blessed with tremendous natural gas resources that will allow the state to create thousands of good-paying jobs. Any impact fees should be limited to actual impacts and should avoid the temptation to kill the goose that lays the golden egg.”
“I have been involved in fracking oil wells for 50 years with no groundwater pollution. The formations are well below the aquifers and the fluids used simply reduce surface tension and thus friction in the fractures; anti-bacterial agents also are used to prevent plugging. I will be happy to drink the fluid to show how harmless it is ... and I am a 75-year-old triathlete and health nut.”
The Heartland Institute is a 27-year-old national nonprofit organization with offices in Chicago, Illinois; Washington, DC; Austin, Texas; Tallahassee, Florida; and Columbus, Ohio. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.