“This industry can be taxed out of existence in Pennsylvania,” said Kevin Harley, campaign spokesman for Mr. Corbett, who opposes any severance tax. “To try to pass a tax simply to fill a budget hole is irresponsible.”

Brian Herman, spokesman for Mr. Onorato, who supports imposing a severance tax, said: “Well, Mr. Corbett is clearly more interested in helping the industry than the people of Pennsylvania.”

I grew up as a kid here in Western Pennsylvania with a Grandfather who was probably more interested in being out in the woods and fishing a good trout stream, than in an office being a corporate type. My family loved nature, and from the earliest age, I remember spending weekends, and the summer in a small cabin, he built un near Laurel Highlands. It was a one room cabin, with a large loft of a second level, where everyone slept, and warmed by a huge fireplace, and no running water. I remember being taken out and shown where the lady slippers bloomed every year, as if it were a secret to be protected, the location,  I now can not remember. My mother too was probably more passionate to be a naturalist, or a reptile biologist than a nurse. So, there is a part of me that is scared to death to think what Marcellus Shale drilling will do for Pennsylvania. On the other hand, anyone is a fool to think that the state sitting on one of the richest reserves of natural gas anywhere in the country would just chose to leave it sit there untouched.

On one hand, this post is about Marcellus Shale, but on the other hand, this post is about the future of the State, and the differences between Dan Onorato and Tom Corbett. The next four years with either of them as Governor, especially in light of the Marcellus Shale issue will set the stage for the next decades to come. Will we, as a state set ourselves up for sustainable and environmentally safe economic growth and development, or will we plunder our resources in a way that benefits only the Gas and Oil companies?

It is bigger than that however. Right now, Tom Corbett is running for governor, claiming that he won’t raise taxes, yet, he will if elected, be responsible for a state that has no idea of new revenue streams, a continuing brain drain, and poor incentives for high tech companies to come here.  And his campaign wants to make everyone believe that a severance tax will “shut down Marcellus Shale drilling.” What a load of crap, given that we sit over the richest reserve of it anywhere. The Oil and Gas companies simply are waiting for someone to be elected that will let them do anything they want, with no regard for the environment or the people of the state.

We have seen over and over- from the coal mine explosions to oil rig disasters, to Wall Street and to-big-to-fail banks- that the big corporations take profits first and foremost with little regard for safety or the effects on the public at large. We are sitting on one of the richest reserves of natural gas, and all Corbett can say is he is worried that we will drive the companies away.

The governor said he supports a severance tax identical to one already enacted in West Virginia that would impose a 5 percent tax on the value of the extracted gas, plus a levy of 4.7 cents per thousand cubic feet of gas. (Emphasis is mine.)

The industry is proposing a tax based on the state of Arkansas’s tax rate that, for some expensive and low-producing wells, would start at 11/2 percent on the value of the extracted gas in the first three years of a well’s life, increasing to 5 percent in later years. (Emphasis is mine.)

Kathryn Klaber, executive director of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, an advocacy group representing almost all of the state’s shale gas producers, said the Arkansas model is one the coalition has been encouraging because “we view it as a good way to encourage development and return some revenue to local governments.”

But, Mr. Rendell said, “about 50 percent of all the natural gas is pumped out during the first five years” of a well’s producing life.

Even the industry is supporting a 5% tax- they just want to wait for it to kick in, until they have the majority of gas out of the ground. But Tom Corbett doesn’t want to over tax them?

What we need is a governor with enough budget and planning experience to allow for drilling in safe and controlled ways, such that the companies must work in environmentally safe ways, and everyone benefits from the money that can be raised, instead of leaving all of that the to the big Gas and Oil companies. We need to elect Dan Onorato.

via Rendell: No drilling moratorium.

Update 09/08/2010: Here is Dan Onorato’s own words about Marcellus  Shale as posted to the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dan-onorato/post_806_b_708345.html

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