Failing to Pass a Severance Tax…

Below some comments from the press and PennFuture about the state of the State’s budget sans a tax on drilling.

Inaction on drill tax has a bad odor to it
Sunday, October 24, 2010
By Brian O’Neill, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

…. Its [PA’s Legislature] latest gaffe is passing on collecting tens of millions of dollars in revenue from the oil and gas industry, which is making huge money in our state (and passing a good bit of it around Harrisburg). Nearly all of the nation’s natural gas comes out of the ground in states that have severance taxes, but we won’t have any….

Bill Holland is associate editor of Gas Daily, which covers the natural gas market in North America. He said, “Industry analysts have never been very concerned” about paying a tax in Pennsylvania. Even the House bill passed largely by Democrats last month wasn’t that big a deal, Mr. Holland said. “They expect a tax eventually — like there is everywhere else drilling occurs,” he said.

It’s not as if profit margins are low. Mr. Holland pointed to Chesapeake Energy’s recent statement that its break-even selling price for drilling Marcellus Shale gas is $2.45 per thousand cubic feet, and Friday’s closing price for gas futures was $3.35. Now drillers don’t have to worry about even a pin scratch on that pretty price spread….

To read the full opinion online, click here:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10297/1097325-155.stm

PennFuture’s Drilling Fact of the Day

October 22, 2010
The refusal of the Pennsylvania Senate leadership to consider a severance tax bill leaves Pennsylvania citizens in the lurch, with a $70 million hole in this year’s state budget, and with local communities holding the bag on covering the public safety and social costs that drillers bring with them….

To read the full PennFuture Drilling Fact of the Day, click here:

 

Advertisements

Stand up for what you believe in – You know what’s at stake!

Pittsburgh – Philadelphia – Ohiopyle – Harrisburg

It’s time to show up and be counted

SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR OUR STATE FORESTS

Stand up for what you believe in – You know what’s at stake!

Be a Hero for our Forests
Attend an event to show your support for protecting our precious state forests from further natural gas drilling and for an impact fee to ensure drillers pay their fair share

Currently the state legislature is moving forward with a budget plan that relies on new natural gas drilling leases on state forest land to cover the budget shortfall – threatening our public natural resources and compromising public access to our forest land.

We need forest heroes- our legislators and Governor Rendell must pledge not to support a budget that relies in drilling in forests. Instead, they need to enact a gas extraction impact fee to pay for the damage to natural resources and communities that drilling causes. Our legislators need to support the impact fee and the Save our Forests legislation (HB 2235), which puts a five year freeze on new deep natural gas drilling leases in state forests.

Come to one of these events to stand up for our forests:

April 14, 12:15 – 12:45 p.m. – Philadelphia
Demonstration to Save Pennsylvania’s Forests
Gov. Rendell’s Southeast Office
200 South Broad Street (near Broad and Walnut).
Join us during your lunch hour as we conduct a fun demonstration with a local arts group to show support our remarkable state forests.

April 15, 12:00 – 2:00 p.m. – Ricketts Glen
Picnic in Ricketts Glen State Park to Save Pennsylvania’s Forests
Rickets Glen State Park Picnic Pavilion #2
695 State Route 487, Benton, PA 17814
Gather your friends and family and join us for a relaxing lunch in the park to show your support for protecting our state forests and to simply enjoy the beauty of Ricketts Glen State Park.

April 17, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.- Philadelphia
Annual PennFuture Watershed Workshop: Bold Action to Protect Water Quality in Philadelphia and Beyond
Friends Center, 1501 Cherry St, Philadelphia, PA 19102
This workshop will discuss changes Philadelphia is making to ensure the health of our waterways and take a look at Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling, and why it is relevant to local water quality.

April 20, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.- Pittsburgh
Rally for the Trees to Save Pennsylania’s Forests
Portico steps of the City-County Building, 414 Grant St, Pittsburgh, PA  15219.
Grab your friends and spend your lunch hour showing your support for Pennsylania’s state forests.

April 20, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. – Ohiopyle
Celebrate Our Forests – and learn more about gas drilling
Ohiopyle Stewart Community Center
15 Sherman Street, Ohiopyle, PA 15470
Learn more about natural gas drilling – what it is and what the impacts will be – and share your stories about what our state forests mean to you.  We’ll deliver your stories to elected officials on Earth Day in Harrisburg.

April 22, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. – Harrisburg
Earth Day Rally to Protect Penn’s Woods
Pennsylvania State Capitol Main Rotunda
Gather your friends, postcards, and signs and join us in a rally encouraging our legislators to protect Penn’s Woods.

Coordinator www.PaForestCoalition.org

“Green Dogs” take up with the “Hunt Dogs”

Lawmakers line up against governor’s forest leasing plan
Monday, February 22, 2010
By Don Hopey, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A caucus of 37 “green dog” and “hunting dog” legislators is barking mad about a Rendell administration budget proposal that would seek to raise $180 million by leasing more state forest land for Marcellus shale gas well drilling…. In a Feb. 3 letter to the governor, the legislators called for a moratorium on state forest land leasing until the “long-term environmental, fiscal, economic and social impacts” are studied and reviewed and requested a meeting with the governor on the issue….

To read the full article. click here:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10053/1037700-454.stm

Uh-Oh!

Beneath Pennsylvania’s forests lies a treasure worth billions of dollars.

by Isaiah Thompson

Our capitol may be a cesspool of corruption — hello, Bonusgate — but we’ve got us a real nice state forest. Pennsylvania is one of nine states whose forests are certified “sustainable” by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

But even that proud jewel could get buried in the dung. Beneath Pennsylvania’s forests, beneath a big piece of rock known as the Marcellus Shale, lies another treasure — natural gas, worth billions of dollars, some of it on state-owned land. Uh-oh.

You can read the rest of this article at:

http://citypaper.net/articles/2010/02/04/pennsylvania-forestry-drilling-natural-gas

DEP – Notice of new rulemaking for gas well construction

The following is an extract of a DEP release from January. You may already have seen this, but might not have considered officially commenting to DEP on their rulemaking. I urge you and any organization you represent to do so. Gas industry representatives may attempt to weaken or delete some – or all – of these regulations. Public input will help to support DEP’s efforts to put these regulations in place.


In order to protect Pennsylvania’s residents and environment from the impact of increased natural gas exploration across the state, Governor Edward G. Rendell announced today that the commonwealth is strengthening its enforcement capabilities…. … DEP’s work to amend Pennsylvania’s oil and gas regulations will strengthen well construction standards and define a drilling company’s responsibility for responding to gas migration issues, such as when gas escapes a well or rock formation and seeps into homes or water wells. Specifically, he said the new regulations will:

• Require the casings of Marcellus Shale and other high-pressure wells to be tested and constructed with specific, oilfield-grade cement;
• Clarify the drilling industry’s responsibility to restore or replace water supplies affected by drilling;
• Establish procedures for operators to identify and correct gas migration problems without waiting for direction from DEP;
• Require drilling operators to notify DEP and local emergency responders immediately of gas migration problems;
• Require well operators to inspect every existing well quarterly to ensure each well is structurally sound, and report the results of those inspections to DEP annually; and
• Require well operators to notify DEP immediately if problems such as over-pressurized wells and defective casings are found during inspections.

“These new draft regulations, which were developed through open meetings with experts in the industry, are designed to give Pennsylvanians peace of mind by bringing our state’s requirements up to par with other major gas producing states or, as in the case of the well casing requirements, to a level that is even more rigorous,” said Governor Rendell.

The new regulations will be offered for public comment on Jan. 29 before going through DEP’s formal rulemaking process.

In commenting to DEP about these new regulations, consider whether it is appropriate for  the industry to police itself when there have been so many documented instances of failure to do so in Pennsylvania and other gas-producing states.
Specifically, the regulations noted above that say the following are situations where a regulatory agency may be a more appropriate entity to oversee this aspect of drilling in order to protect the public and the environment.
– “Require well operators to inspect every existing well quarterly to ensure each well is structurally sound, and report the results of those inspections to DEP annually.”
– “Require well operators to notify DEP immediately if problems such as over-pressurized wells and defective casings are found during inspections.”
Consider the following with regard to the regulation that says: “Clarify the drilling industry’s responsibility to restore or replace water supplies affected by drilling.”
If a home’s water supply is damaged in quality and/or quantity by gas drilling – whether the supply comes from a private or public source – it should be replaced in toto. It’s unacceptable to replace only drinking water but not water that is needed for other household purposes, such as washing, or for irrigation. A property’s value can be significantly diminished by lack or water or water that is polluted. It appears that the regulation on this matter would insure appropriate replacement. Public input would underscore the importance of this regulation.
Consider whether the mechanism to determine whether a water supply has been adversely affected by drilling is fair to the property owner.
In order to comment on these regulations, here’s what DEP says.
Interested persons are invited to submit comments, suggestions or
objections regarding the proposed amendments to the Bureau of Oil and Gas, P. O. Box
8765, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8765 (express mail: Rachel Carson State Office Building,
5th Floor, 400 Market Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101-2301).
Comments submitted by facsimile will not be accepted.
Comments, suggestions or objections must be received by the Department by March 2, 2010.
Electronic Comments: Comments may be submitted electronically to the Department at
ra-epoilandgas@state.pa.us and must also be received by the Department by March 2,
2010.
A subject heading of the proposal and a return name and address must be included
in each transmission. If the sender does not receive an acknowledgement of electronic
comments within 2 working days, the comments should be retransmitted to ensure
receipt.
To read the original announcement, click here:

http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/newsroom/14287?id=3115&typeid=1

To read the details of the rulemaking, deadline for public comments and where to send them, click here:

Gas tax makes sense

http://www.philly.com/inquirer/opinion/20100118_Editorial__Gas_tax_makes_sense.html

Nice editorial from the Philadelphia Inquirer about taxing the energy companies for drilling int he Marcellus Shale in PA.

What the Philly Inquirer Has to Say…

Got these from a  fellow group member this morning.

http://www.philly.com/philly/business/81082272.html

http://www.philly.com/inquirer/currents/81082787.html

The attached articles concerning the Marcellus Shale  appeared in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer under bylines of two reputable reporters. The fracking article by Andrew Maykuth summarizes some of the problems and concerns. Kevin Ferris’s column  presents information about how other states have handled oil and gas income and moves on to describe proposals from various PA politicians. You have to love his suggested 11th Commandment.
Peace,
Barb