Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf keeps attacking natural gas with proposed taxes and regulation. Is he trying to smother the industry? It looks like it.
It’s clear the shale industry in Pennsylvania has slowed down. Drilling has significantly dropped for a variety of reasons, the oversupply of natural gas being one reason along with a lack of pipelines to get the clean-burning energy source to markets that need it. I’ve witnessed it firsthand, being involved in the industry. Towns that were booming have slowed significantly. Many businesses in the supply chain suffer as a result, and jobs have been lost. This is no time more taxes and regulation.
Does this seem like a time to add onerous new methane-mitigating rules and regulations as well as a sweeping new severance tax to the shale gas industry? If you are our governor here in Pennsylvania and independently wealthy with a political debt to anti-gas special interests, that answer would appear to be yes.
Governor Tom Wolf’s personal quest to tax and regulate the shale industry out of Pennsylvania is pretty easy to see these days. While he claims the industry is a vital piece of the energy plan and economy in Pennsylvania (never mind all the natural gas New York depends on getting from us), it’s clear he and his team are trying force the industry out of the state with more taxes and regulation.
A new severance tax would cripple an industry that already pays an impact fee that funnels funds back to the areas where drilling has occurred. This is where those funds belong, almost a billion dollars having been placed in to areas where drilling occurs since 2008.
New methane-mitigation rules? The numbers clearly show emissions have been dropping as ever more natural gas has been developed and used, now dominating the energy grid.
Make no mistake, the industry will leave Pennsylvania even faster if these practices continue, which is, of course, exactly what Wolf’s fractivist friends desire. Yes, the Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale is loaded with gas and isn’t going anywhere. But, that same Marcellus Shale and, also Utica Shale, also exist in West Virginia and Ohio, areas that are starting to look much more friendly to an industry seeing a down cycle. Do not be surprised to see more business move across state lines, taking well-paying, family sustaining jobs with them.