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Politics & Government

Election 2014 Natural Gas Drilling

90.5 WESA is exploring several of the key issues being debated as part of the 2014 Pennsylvania gubernatorial campaign.

Natural Gas Drilling

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett’s stance on natural gas drilling is widely known: the more energy self-sufficient Pennsylvania is, the better the state will be -- and everything should be done to achieve this goal.

Under Corbett, Pennsylvania does not impose a severance tax on companies drilling for natural gas, nor does it require those companies.  Instead it charges a per well fee that most agree totals less than a severance tax levied at a rate equal to that of neighboring states. The Republican worries that taxing this profitable industry could cause companies to search outside of Pennsylvania for natural gas reserves. That, in turn, could lead to a loss in high-paying skilled labor jobs.

Democrat Tom Wolf and his supporters, on the other hand, claim that these fears are massively inflated. Siting severance taxes imposed in states like West Virginia, Texas, and Oklahoma, Wolf believes the natural gas industry is here to stay and Pennsylvanians should be able to benefit from it.  Wolf is calling for a severance tax that will be used in part to shore up the state’s education system.

The Governor’s pro-business policies have been characterized by Wolf as not making “oil and gas companies pay their fair share.”

Wolf is likewise pushing for more environmental oversight, claiming that “irresponsible companies” should be held accountable for their actions.