Gubernatorial candidate Sam Rohrer laid out his Energy Independence plan for Pennsylvania.
The plan includes:
- Oppose any effort to impose a natural gas severance tax in the absence of major reductions in business taxes.
- Oppose any efforts to subject the value of unrecovered gas to property taxes.
- Support expanded exploration and drilling on state lands.
- Appoint a DCNR Secretary who understands the important balance of sensible conservation, private property rights and real job creation.
- Speed up state agency approval time for permits.
- Oppose EPA and DCNR mandates that place unreasonable restrictions on well producers and property owners.
- Defend the rights of private property owners to explore, drill and extract natural gas and coal deposits.
- Fight for the phase out and elimination of Pennsylvania’s anti-job Capital Stock & Franchise Tax and reductions in the State Corporate Net Income Tax.
Rohrer’s plan correctly focuses on insuring the Marcellus Shale drilling remains a source of economic growth and not another slush fund for politicians.
However, while lowering Pennsylvania’s overall business tax burden is critical, Rohrer leaves open the door for doing so on the back of a natural gas tax. Any severance tax should only occur after drilling companies have recouped their initial investment, and should be strictly tied to the environmental costs of drilling (though drilling companies are already being held responsible for environmental impacts through bonds and contracts.)