GOP lawmakers would give gas drillers a gift by stopping new DEP rules

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Letter to the Editor

By Nancy Tashman, Mt. Lebanon

July 10, 2015

Don’t look now, but our state legislators are trying to give the Marcellus Shale industry another gift!

It’s bad enough that our legislators refuse to consider a severance tax on Marcellus Shale production, leaving Pennsylvania the only major gas-producing state without such a tax. Now, lawmakers from Pennsylvania’s drilling counties are trying to undermine the public will by attaching an amendment, without debate or discussion, to the budget companion Fiscal Code bill.

This amendment would eliminate the state Department of Environmental Protection’s new rules — rules developed with the input of tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians who just want to hold drillers to a set of standards that addresses the concerns of property owners affected by drilling activity, protects our environment and keeps us safe (“House Stymies DEP on Drilling Rules,” June 30 PowerSource).

While this giveaway has been held off for now by Gov. Tom Wolf’s veto of the Fiscal Code bill along with the budget bill, Republican legislators have vowed to attach the same language to any revised Fiscal Code bill.

It’s disheartening to know that the shale industry’s deep pockets are more influential than the concerns of the people of Pennsylvania who want to hold drillers accountable.

Read the full letter here

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