The Marcellus Shale industry is extremely important to Pennsylvania. The Governor seems to know it. Does his proposed DEP Secretary? He had better know it.
We cannot underestimate the importance of the natural gas industry in Pennsylvania and in our lives. Oil and gas production is a huge job creator and revenue generator in our state. The Marcellus Shale industry added 44,000 Pennsylvania jobs, contributed $4 billion to our state’s economy, and generated $389 million in state and local tax revenue in 2009 alone.
Since that time, courtesy of the local impact tax on oil and gas production, funding for public services has continued to benefit. Revenue from the impact fee alone, 60 percent of which, by law, stays in local communities, topped $225 million in 2013. These numbers matter to the quality of our lives.
While the new governor spoke out in favor of oil and natural gas production during his announcement of John Quigley’s appointment as environmental protection secretary, it is important that his policies reflect those words. I suggest that we all pay attention.
Editor’s Note: Mary Barket’s letter to the editor was published in the Allentown, Pennsylvania Morning Call on January 27, 2015 and is reposted here by permission of the author. Mary notes Tom Wolf seems to favor natural gas development and gives him the benefit of the doubt on his appointment of John Quigley but says vigilance is still demanded by us all in ensuring that is, in fact, the case. Quigley, like the Governor’s Policy Director (John Hangar) and his DCNR Secretary (Cindy Dunn) all come from PennFuture, which is anything but friendly to the Marcellus Shale industry.
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