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The Puzzling Case of Pennsylvania State Rep. Garth Everett

natural gas boats - Tom Shepstone ReportsTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.

 

PA State Rep. Garth Everett seemed to be slinking toward a severance tax to advance a bill of his own, but didn’t. It’s all very puzzling, like Garth Everett.

UPDATE 12/13/17: Rep. Garth Everett informs me he voted AGAINST the severance tax bill yesterday despite it NOT having the minimum royalty language in it. Needless to say, we thank him.

There something very strange going on with Pennsylvania Representative Garth Everett of Muncy (Lycoming County) who has been making noises of late about maybe supporting a severance tax on shale gas production. It’s a strange position for a Lycoming County politician to take, given the importance of the industry to his constituency.

Any severance tax, despite Gov. Wolf’s protestations to the contrary, would have to come out of the pockets of landowners. Natural gas companies are, after all price takers, not price makers, and, therefore, have no choice, if they want to stay in business in the Commonwealth, but to ask landowners to share in those costs. If they can’t do that, they simply won’t produce. It’s that simple. One cannot legislate changes in the laws of economics, a fact Everett surely knows.

But, landowners are Everett’s political base, so why the flirting with a concept nothing short of anathema to them? That’s just the beginning of the puzzlement that is Garth Everett.

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Business-Friendly? What A Difference A State Makes!

Decline Curves - Chris AckerChris Acker
Geological Engineer,
Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania 

CHRIS ACKER

CHRIS ACKER

What a difference a state makes when it comes to being business-friendly and using its resources without breaking the bank and the backs of its citizens.

Wow – what a world of difference. I’m Pennsylvania through and through, but do manage to spend some winter months in lovely Savannah, Georgia. Most of you may think historic buildings and moss-draped oaks, but there’s more to it. The region is an economic dynamo.

Contrast this with Pennsylvania’s lumbering economy and dysfunctional budgeting process. I was reading an article in the morning news and it got me to thinking what a difference a state makes when it comes to ability, attitude, efficiency, business-friendliness and so much else, particularly when it comes to matters of energy.

More to the point, why Is Georgia perceived as pro-business and Pennsylvania as anti-business?

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Why Does Tom the Taxman Wolf Keep Lying About Severance Taxes?

natural gas boats - Tom Shepstone ReportsTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.

 

Tom “the Taxman” Wolf never relents in spreading lies when it comes to severance taxes because he aims to reward the public employee unions who are his base.

Tom Wolf, the taxman, was at it again yesterday, telling Southeastern Pennsylvania (Philadelphia region) politicians how he wanted to rescue them and their public employee union political base with a severance tax on natural gas. He repeated, yet again, the same lies he’s been telling since he ran for Governor in 2014, starting with the fact out-of-staters would pay most of the tax and, of course, continuing to pretend we don’t already have a severance tax that produces more revenue than other states he cites as examples.

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Tom Wolf’s Severance Tax Based on False Premises

PIOGAPennsylvania Independent
Oil & Gas Association (PIOGA)

 

In a letter to PA Representatives, PIOGA clearly explains and leaves no doubt the proposed severance tax is full of false premises and will overtax the natural gas industry.

It’s well past the time for an honest discussion about a Pennsylvania severance tax.

A little over a week ago at an event in Erie, Governor Wolf urged the legislature to come back to Harrisburg to complete the budget process by passing a severance tax and funding the staterelated universities, stating that the “fairest and simplest solution to the current budget challenge is a severance tax on natural gas production.” The governor also said that he’s “not sure what it is that people don’t like about this tax.”

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Laura Legere Does Yet Another Phony Story on Fracking

natural gas boats - Tom Shepstone ReportsTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.

 

Laura Legere, long-time lackey for the fractivist cause, has produced another hit piece on the natural gas industry that leaves out the most important facts.

Laura Legere is no journalist. She’s a hard-core advocate playacting as one and always has been. A weekend story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Philadelphia Inquirer, to which she “contributed,” is just the latest fusillade aimed at an industry she has long despised. When Laura was still at the Scranton Times, I once did an analysis of her natural gas coverage over the preceding year and found she had written nearly 40 stories on the subject, all but one of which were relentlessly negative. She is anything but objective and that has been proven yet again with this latest phony hit piece aimed at the industry in regard to the Pennsylvania severance tax debate. Fortunately, the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) is fighting back.

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Let’s Call the Impact Fee by Its Real Name: Severance Tax

budget shortfallKeith Naughton
Principal, Silent Majority Strategies, LLC

 

Representative John Maher wants to set the record straight on the Pennsylvania impact fee; “it always was and now is a severance tax.”

With a simple amendment Rep. John Maher, Chairman of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee (Pennsylvania), injected a much-needed dose of honesty into state government. Maher’s amendment changed the name of the “Impact Fee” levied on fracked natural gas to “Severance Tax,” which is what that tax should have been called from Day One.

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Our Impact Fee is Working Better Than A Severance Tax

natural gas industry

Brittany Ramos
Coordinator, External Affairs
Cabot Oil & Gas

  

Once again Governor Wolf calls for a severance tax in the budget, ignoring facts showing the current impact fee is not only working; it’s generating more.

Summertime, it’s the season for baseball, cookouts, and, unfortunately, for some lawmakers to renew tired calls for a massive, job-crushing energy tax increase. Despite the clear facts showing Pennsylvania’s impact fee, our tax on natural gas, which has generated $1.2 billion in new revenue, is working, some in Harrisburg continue to be preoccupied over the false promise of energy tax increases.

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Pennsylvania Senate Does Severance Tax Dance with Wolf?

cost of renewables - Tom ShepstoneTom Shepstone
Natural Gas NOW

… 

The Pennsylvania Senate, out of the blue, has decided it ought to dance with Governor Wolf on a severance tax that would punish landowners and help drive one of the Commonwealth’s few success stories elsewhere.

The Pennsylvania Senate is apparently run by Republicans with strong suicidal tendencies. They imagine they can steer a middle course between Philly region tax and spend moochers and trendy environmentalists on the one hand and conservative rural and rust-belt Pennsylvanians who simply want economic revitalization on the other. The natural gas industry has been a savior for the latter and helped give the Republicans the majority they now have. But, they would squander it to be more liked by their enemies (a hopelessly naive aspiration) by dancing with Governor Tom Wolf on the issue of a severance tax. That’s what we learned yesterday as the Republican Pennsylvania Senate voted for such a tax.

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The Fake News About Pennsylvania’s Impact Fee

natural gas industry

Brittany Ramos
Coordinator, External Affairs
Cabot Oil & Gas

  

Every budget season the fake news about Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale Impact Fee starts being spread by advocates of a severance tax who deny we have one.

It’s budget season in Pennsylvania which inevitably means two things will happen:

  1. There will be some sort of budget shortfall our elected officials need to work through – right now estimated to be around $3 billion
  2. Newspapers will suddenly be filled with letters to the editor and columns and op-eds proclaiming “the natural gas industry doesn’t pay their fair share” which tends to be followed by “Pennsylvania is the only state without a severance tax”

I’m already seeing some Groundhog Day familiarity already across the newspaper headlines in this Commonwealth with fake news everywhere on the subject.

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Washington County Rakes in Marcellus Impact Fees

cost of renewables - Tom ShepstoneTom Shepstone
Natural Gas NOW

… 

Washington County, Pennsylvania has raked in some $32 million in Marcellus Shale Impact Fees; whoever said Pennsylvania has no severance tax is just wrong.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) reported its annual impact fee distribution this month, and Washington County topped the list of recipients with more than $14.5 million going to the county and its municipalities. The announcement of $173 million in impact fees to counties and municipalities across the Commonwealth has tipped the total to over $1.2 billion generated by natural gas development in Pennsylvania since the impact fee’s inception in 2011.

Although overall numbers were down from previous years due to a reduction in activity across Pennsylvania, Washington County continued to lead the way in wells drilled and impact fee dollars received.  Washington County will directly see $5.38 million in impact fee dollars, tipping the county’s total over $32 million since the program began, and municipalities across the county are set to receive more than $9.2 million this year.

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