Senator Andy Dinniman is a strong advocate for defending Pennsylvania's waterways, open spaces and natural places. He continues to work for the passage of a severance tax or impact fee on natural gas drilling to fund environmental protection and reclamation programs, as well as local communities affected by the drilling and transportation of natural gas.
Pennsylvania sits atop one of the largest deposits of natural gas in the world -- the Marcellus Shale formation. Yet we are the only major natural gas-producing state that does not require energy companies to contribute a portion of their profits to environmental restoration programs
The natural gas industry has an impact on our landscapes, on our waterways and on our wildlife. It takes a toll on residents whose neighborhoods are zigzagged by ever-expanding pipeline projects with little regard for individual property rights. It is high time that these multi-national energy corporations -- corporations that make hefty profits off the extraction of a valuable and finite natural resource -- are asked to pay their fair share to the communities impacted by their operations.
Dinniman has introduced Senate Bill 352, legislation that calls for a fee based on the amount of natural gas extracted from the Marcellus Shale and would dedicate 50 percent of the revenue to environmental conservation and the communities affected by the drilling and transportation of the gas.
In addition, he has introduced Senate Bill 1140, The Energy Resource Production Water Withdrawal Tax, legislation that would recognize the vast amount of water used in the hydraulic-fracturing process and tax natural gas drillers for such consumption. Tax revenues would be split evenly between Commonwealth programs for the environment and public education.
There is no doubt that increased drilling operations will continue to pose potential threats to the environment and put increased pressure on Chester and Montgomery counties in terms of the number of natural gas pipelines. It is high time that natural gas drillers are asked to pay their fair share in Pennsylvania. After all, we have a constitutional right to "clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment."