Township Officials Denounce Drilling Tax

On Thursday, September 1, 2011 0 comments

In a meeting with several state legislators Wednesday morning, a group of township supervisors from Westmoreland County voiced their objections to a Marcellus shale drilling tax that would benefit counties statewide, regardless of whether they play host to drilling companies.
The state legislators met with the supervisors yesterday at the Unity Township municipal building for an open forum, but much of the discussion was geared toward fair compensation for municipalities that allow companies to drill for the natural gas.

State Sen. Kim Ward, (R-Hempfield), Rep. Joseph Petrarca, (D-Washington Township) and Rep. Mike Reese, (R-Mt. Pleasant Township), among others, fielded questions from the group about severance tax and impact fees, both of which are being considered by the state.

An impact fee is a funding mechanism that would help municipalities pay for the wear and tear on their roads and any other repairs needed because of the impact from drilling activity.

A severance tax, the legislators explained, is a tax levied on the gas taken out of the ground and paid out statewide.

Both the supervisors and legislators voiced their opinions against the latter.

"This is all about a wealth transfer from the western part of the state where the drilling takes place to the southeastern part of the state," said Rep. Tim Krieger, (R-Delmont).

"We should get more money where roads are being affected and water is being threatened," Petrarca added.

Ward advised supervisors to voice their opinions for the impact fee as opposed to the severance tax before it's too late.

"Twenty-six senators don't have any Marcellus shale drilling," Ward said. "That means they could pass (a severance tax) today. If it gets to Harrisburg, things get taken. If it's anywhere where a legislator can get a hold of it, it's gone."

Unity Township Supervisor Mike O'Barto said he isn't concerned with getting extra money from the taxes, just enough to offset the damage done to roads and other public infrastructure.
"We're not looking for any sort of handout, we're just looking to get what we deserve," O'Barto said.
O'Barto also led a lengthy discussion about some municipalities being forced to do work on state roads that should be taken care of by PennDOT.

"Here we are taking care of signage on state roads, traffic lights, cutting grass, all of which we aren't getting paid for. I think we're all frustrated," O'Barto said.

Read more: Township officials denounce drilling tax - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


No comments yet. Be the first to leave a comment !
Leave a Comment

Next Post Previous Post
Powered by Blogger