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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

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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

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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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West Virginia No Severance Tax Model for PA

delaware riverkeeper - Jim Willis reports

Jim Willis
Editor & Publisher, Marcellus Drilling News (MDN)

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West Virginia’s severance tax is a poor performer compared to Pennsylvania’s impact fee; something legislators should bear in mind as Gov. Wolf tries again.

Thursday, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), the agency charged with keeping tabs on impact fee revenue from shale drillers (Pennsylvania’s version of a severance tax), released the final numbers for impact fee revenues and disbursements in 2016 (see PA PUC Impact Fee Report: Revenue Down Again in 2016). Revenues were from the impact fee were down for the third straight year.

And, since politicians in Harrisburg are in the midst of budget negotiations and attempting to close a perennial gap in the budget, we have no doubt the hew and cry will go out, yet again, to enact a severance tax on shale gas and oil–either in addition to or on top of the impact fee. They ought to look at West Virginia.

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Pennsylvania House Does “From Here to Sanity” with No Severance Tax

delaware riverkeeper - Jim Willis reports

Jim Willis
Editor & Publisher, Marcellus Drilling News (MDN)

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The Pennsylvania House passes its budget bill insisting on no new tax increases and excludes the insane severance tax being pushed by Governor Tom Wolf.

On Monday Pennsylvania House Republicans released their version of a state budget, and yesterday (Tuesday) they voted to pass it. Ba-boom! The budget is noteworthy for many reasons. Of prime interest to MDN is that the budget does NOT include PA Gov. Tom Wolf’s insane 6.5% severance tax.

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Wolf Administration Loses All Credibility on Severance Tax

cost of renewables - Tom ShepstoneTom Shepstone
Natural Gas NOW

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The Wolf Administration blew it at a PA Senate Appropriations hearing this week, proving just how little thought has gone into its severance tax proposal.

There’s no doubt the PA House Appropriation hearing was rough on the Wolf Administration when it came to its severance tax proposal, but the Senate hearing was a flash flood wipeout. Senator Scott Martin (Republican, Lancaster County) did the damage, and very effectively so, starting at 43:17 in this PCN video of the proceedings. It only took a few minutes.

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Cindy Dunn Was for Natural Gas Before She Was Against It

cost of renewables - Tom ShepstoneTom Shepstone
Natural Gas NOW

… 

DCNR’s Cindy Dunn, former Penn Future shill for the William Penn Foundation and Heinz Endowments, was for natural gas development before she was against it.

The Pennsylvania House and Senate hearings on the Commonwealth’s 2017-2018 budget continue to illustrate what a sad thing thing, indeed, is the Wolf Administration. Led by a child of wealth with no seeming ability to manage anything, but a strong desire to achieve political correctness, the Administration is ripe for exploitation by special interests. Cindy Dunn, a humorless true believer who has bounced around between government and Penn Future, a tool of Pennsylvania’s two mega-elitists, the Haas and Heinz families, inadvertently provides a window into this world of chaos.

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PA Pipeline Infrastructure Moves Forward As DEP Uses Common Sense

Constitution Pipeline - MarkindDaniel B. Markind, Esq.
Weir and Partners, LLP

 

Sunoco Logistics is upping the game in building pipeline infrastructure as Pennsylvania DEP applies common sense in dealing with pipelines and earthquakes.

Just two weeks after receiving its permits from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for the  construction of the Mariner East 2 Pipeline across Pennsylvania to Marcus Hook, Sunoco Logistics confirmed that it will be building two, and not just one, pipelines within the right of way.  Construction already has begun on a 20-inch pipe, but Sunoco Logistics CEO Michael Hennigan confirms that a 16-inch pipe also will be built adjacent to the 20-inch pipe.  Mr. Hennigan noted that the DEP approval convinced producers to commit to the project, confirming again the importance of the pipeline infrastructure in the production and distribution of energy.

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PA Budget Hearing Exposes Severance Tax Game

cost of renewables - Tom ShepstoneTom Shepstone
Natural Gas NOW

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Pennsylvania budget hearings are revealing just how little thought the Wolf Administration has given to the severance tax it wants to impose for spite.

There are two weeks of hearings going on in Harrisburg right now to study Tom Wolf’s proposed new budget for Pennsylvania. It’s more boring than you can imagine; watching paint dry is a pleasant diversion, in fact. Still, tucked inside the hearings are some questions and answers that tell us an awful lot about the Wolf administration and where it stands on natural gas issues. There are also a lot of additional questions that need to be asked.

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