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Tobash Issues Statement on Marcellus Shale Impact Fee, Regulatory Bill
11/17/2011
HARRISBURG – Rep. Mike Tobash (R-Schuylkill/Berks) issued the following statement about his support of House Bill 1950, which would impose an impact fee on natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale and make a number of regulatory changes to protect the environment:

“Today’s vote is an important step forward in our effort to strike the right balance between the opportunities and responsibilities that come with the growing natural gas industry in Pennsylvania.

“When taking into consideration our overall tax structure, I believe the impact fee proposed in this legislation is both fair and reasonable. While some believe the fee is too low, we must also consider that gas drillers already pay significant corporate taxes which are either lower or do not exist in other drilling states. In fact, drillers paid more than $213 million in taxes in 2010, and it is estimated that figure will increase dramatically.

“The proposal keeps Pennsylvania competitive among other shale states to ensure the drilling industry continues to grow and create jobs here. It also generates the necessary revenue to address infrastructure and environmental impacts both in communities in which the drilling takes place and across the state. And it makes significant improvements to state regulations and oversight to help prevent accidents and ensure drillers are held responsible for any impacts there may be to our communities.

“It is important that we move this issue to the governor’s desk as soon as possible. The Commonwealth has not enacted an impact fee or severance tax over the years since this drilling began, and it’s important that we now get this done. I hope our effort will result in accomplishing the collection of fees that previously did not exist. It should also add some stability to the industry. A gas extraction company recently pulled eight of its rigs out of Pennsylvania and moved them into Ohio, so the argument that drilling companies are here and will go nowhere else does not hold true. In order to attract jobs and keep Pennsylvania competitive in the industry, we must provide some level of predictability to companies that are considering doing business and creating jobs in our Commonwealth.

“The plan adopted by the House reflects much of what was recommended by the administration’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, and the Senate also approved a separate impact fee proposal. I look forward to the opportunity to negotiate the differences between these two measures to reach agreement on a plan that prepares Pennsylvania’s gas industry for a safe, productive and job-creating future.”
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