Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Republican State Representatives presented a plan to expand natural gas drilling through 390,000 additional acres of forest land in Pennsylvania. The proposal is an alternative to Governor Ed Rendell's proposed gas severance tax. Many issues stem from companies eager to tap natural gas that remains in the Macellus Shale rock formation. The State Budget and Policy Director Sharon Ward says in an issued statement that natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale comes with substantial environmental costs.On the other hand, House Republican Leader Sam Smith says an expansion would bring in an estimated $260 million in revenue annually and also create 7,000 private sector jobs. Rendell's 5 percent tax on gas production is estimated to provide $236 million to the state budget in its first full year.