Pennsylvania remains the only state with a natural gas industry that doesn't levy a severance tax on drillers (you guess it even Texas does), despite recent polls indicating that 70% of Pennsylvanians support implementing such a tax on the out-of-state companies responsible most of the extraction. People have legitimate concerns over the quality of PA's drinking water, the strain on small communities' emergency responders and damage to our state's already deteriorating infrastructure.
The Commonwealth has already lost out on millions of dollars in revenue which could have helped in this year's especially tense budget debate.
As has been true for the past couple years, Marcellus Shale stories consistently pepper the news media. This week several news outlets covered Marcellus from different angles including National Public Radio. Central PA's WGAL offered a rare on-air editorial. The Philadelphia Inquirer provided a list ranking the state's 20 top drillers, which speaks volumes. I've included the top 10 from the Inquirer's list of companies and their headquarters below.
1. Chesapeake Energy Corp., Oklahoma City, OK
2. Talisman Energy Inc., Calgary, Alberta
3. Range Resources Corp., Fort Worth, TX
4. Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., Houston, TX
5. Chevron Corp./Atlas Energy Inc., San Ramon, CA
6. Royal Dutch Shell P.L.C./East Resources Inc., the Hague, the Netherlands
7. EQT Corp., Pittsburgh, PA
8. Chief Oil & Gas L.L.C., Dallas, TX
9. Consol Energy Inc., Canonsburg, PA
10. Seneca Resources Corp., Houston, TX
The natural gas is here in Pennsylvania, these largely out-of-state (and out-of-country) companies have located here to profit from our resource. These companies simply can't go somewhere else to drill for this gas, they especially can't go someplace without a severance tax, because such a place doesn't exist. If these companies could afford to fund a gubernatorial campaign and trips to the Super Bowl, they can surely pay their fair share now.