A Severance Tax Would Take Money Away From Education

Shale StoryGeorge Stark
Director, External Affairs at Cabot Oil & Gas

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The pending Pennsylvania severance tax would over-tax an energy industry that is already promoting and supporting education, causing a reduction in funding.

As readers know, Cabot has launched a series of podcasts to keep the public updated on the current energy industry and the community surrounding it. This is another part of the series that has included “Marcellus Shale Success Threatened by Severance Tax” and “Cabot Reduces Methane Emissions as Production Soars” and we intend to do more.

I’ve also done a podcast that goes into detail about the energy industry and education. It specifically addresses the amount of money companies actually contribute to education in the Commonwealth.  I highlight not only Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation, but also EQT Corporation, Range Resources Corporation, Chevron, CONSOL Energy and Seneca Resources as companies who promote education and education funding.

For example, as shown in the infographic below, this year alone Cabot plans to donate $1 million explicitly towards education in the Commonwealth and has a strong tie to the community in which it operates for scholarships, grants and educational programs. In 2015, CONSOL Energy also awarded three $5,000 scholarships to local high school seniors and $80,000 to the Foundation of Greene County Educational Improvement Fund.

severance tax

The idea that a Severance Tax, promoted by Governor Wolf, would use money taken away from natural gas companies to fund education is flawed. Governor Wolf’s proposed Severance Tax has been advertised that it’s going to fund education, but isn’t even earmarked that way in the legislation. Taxing the natural gas industry wouldn’t award money to education, but actually take money away from an industry that is helping to promote it. You can also read about how Cabot specifically promotes education in the Commonwealth on Cabot’s blog, Well Said.

Listen to the podcast Volume: The Energy Industry & Education here:

Natural gas funding also helps fund a bridge program from schools in northeastern Pennsylvania to colleges and universities in the area – specifically at Lackawanna College School of Petroleum & Natural Gas.

This commitment to education begins with the support of programs like Junior Achievement’s Careers in Energy and The Challenge Program, Inc. which are designed to get students practicing skills to carry them through to their career of choice. For those interested in becoming a part of the natural gas industry, LC’s School of Petroleum & Natural Gas offers a great opportunity to stay local for school, keep student loans to a minimum and then transition directly into the industry through various companies in the area like Cabot, Southwestern Energy, Williams, DTE and UGI.

For students pursuing higher education, the fundamental skills learned translate to a better understanding of the world around them, as well as crucial career skills like interviewing.

Check out the video below for more on Cabot’s involvement with the School of Petroleum & Natural Gas and how students are using the various programs to advance their own career paths.

Editor’s Note: Original version of this post appeared on Well Said Cabot. See, too, our Severance Tax site on Tumblr.

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