Two weeks ago, Pennsylvanians finally got something for which we have been working for years: a debate about shale tax legislation on the floor of the Pennsylvania House. This would not have happened if not for the many calls and letters made by you and other PA budget activists over the last few months. The bill goes back to the floor today. So now we need to contact our state legislators again to tell them to pass the bill and remove troublesome environmental provisions before doing so.
Please use our on-line tool to contact your member of the Pennsylvania House and urge him or her to vote for a shale tax and remove a troublesome environmental provision before they do so.
The bill on the House floor is not perfect. The tax rate on natural gas drilling it contains is far too low.
But establishing the principle that Pennsylvania should have a severance tax and creating the mechanism for such a tax is important. Once we get this done, it becomes much easier to gradually increase the rate to an appropriate level.
The debate and votes started two week ago. But it is not done. Hundreds of amendments have been proposed to the severance tax. And the House began working through them, one by one.
Many of the amendments proposed to the shale tax legislation have been designed to weaken the legislation. And, with one exception, they have been defeated.
The one that got through could be problematic. It requires the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to rule on drilling permit applications within 45 days with the possibility of two short extensions. If the DEP does not rule in the time permitted, the permit is deemed approved.
We are concerned that this provision could undermine environmental regulations, of natural gas drilling. But we are encouraged that the supporters of the severance tax have a plan to roll it back
The vote is going to be close and what you and other supporters of a clean shale tax bill do could make all the difference.
So please click here to contact your state legislator and tell him or her to vote for a clean shale tax bill, one that does not threaten our environment.