A Sudden Burst of Marcellus Reality

Posted by By at 28 April, at 15 : 55 PM Print

In a preemptive move, Senate President Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson), took the wrapping off his proposed way of making gas drillers in the Marcellus pay.

Scarnati’s proposed impact fee would bring $45 million to start, and by 2015 produce $172 million. Yes, its still pennies on hundreds of millions, but its a start.

Scarnati has heard the screams and noted the reverberations of polls taken from a jaded public. How can Governor Corbett, with a straight face, tell Pennsylvanians they must share the burden of balancing Pennsylvania’s $4 to $5 billion dollar budget deficit, but the gas industry is free to make as many millions as they want — knowing, laughing, that the Governor has no interest in taxing the riches drillers are sucking out of the state.

Scarnati acknowledged that he can not shuttle Corbett’s proposed budget through to passage without making the gas companies pay up.

“I cannot see how we get the budget process done, with all the cuts occurring in so many lines, without addressing an impact fee from this industry,” Scarnatti as quoted by the Morning Call.

Corbett has said that he could go along with an impact fee, so long as all the money goes to help the towns and cities impacted by the gas industry.

Under Scarnati’s proposal, the impact fee would be divided by three with the bulk of it going to municipalities and counties that have wells, towns within counties that have no drilling would also see some cash.

That money would go to repair and enhance roads, bridges and sewer systems. Not a single penny would end up in the general budget – a move that would otherwise spell a veto from the governor.

The proposed measure could come up for a vote by late spring.

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