December 5, 2014
The Allegheny Front's Scorecard is a new segment—keeping track of what's happening in our environment with a weekly number. This week our number comes from the shale industry, and Harrisburg.
The number for this week’s Allegheny Front Scorecard is 50,000. When natural gas drilling took off in Pennsylvania, many felt the gas industry was in the drivers seat. So now the state makes drillers pay—$ 50,000—for every Marcellus gas well. The money goes to communities where gas is drilled, and to the state's regulation of the industry.
But when Tom Wolf becomes governor in January, this system could take a sharp curve. Wolf’s saying, “Hey, let’s rev up the payments the state gets.” He’s proposed another number—five. A 5 percent severance tax on gas drilled at each well. While the current drilling fees brought Pennsylvania $225 million last year, Wolf’s proposed tax could bring in more than three times that amount.
Wolf says some of the extra cash would fund schools, and the state’s substantial budget deficit, where other solutions have hit a brick wall.
Have a number to nominate for our environmental Scorecard? Find us in Twitter, @alleghenyfront, and use #AFScorecard.