Many have rightly criticized Gov. Tom Corbett and a majority of state legislators for their deferential treatment of natural gas drillers in Pennsylvania:
•No extraction fee — unlike other gas-producing states (even Texas)
•Serious questions about whether state environmental regulators are doing enough to police this potentially polluting activity
•Piddly “impact fees” for frackers.
Now, along comes another reason to rue the kid glove treatment: State revenue collected from drillers is down. The state expects to collect about $198 million, down from $204 million the previous year.
Natural gas prices are down, and that triggered a state-law-mandated reduction of per-well fees by about $5,000.
Thus, drillers aren’t earning as much (at least in part because of the fracking bonanza that has boosted supplies), so they pay less taxes.
Nice deal if you can get it.
Try telling your school district, “Hey, I made less money this year than last year. I’d like my property tax bill reduced.”
After the tax collector stops laughing, he’ll say, “Too bad. We still have to pay teachers and the debt service on the new Taj Ma High School.”
The government agencies that receive revenue from drilling are supposed to use it to pay for road work, conservation, emergency preparedness and other “impacts” from drilling operations.
Did that sort of work get any cheaper?
Probably not — or at least not by much. Possibly even the opposite.
Drillers continue their activities that affect communities, but are asked to pay less to remediate those impacts because they’re making less money?
Nice — if you’re a driller.
Guess who will probably get to pick up the frack … er, slack?
Our Legislature has got to revisit this slacker approach to fracking.
P.S.: Thorns to the drillers that are reportedly late with their payments. Drillers failed to pay about $9 million of what was owed, though state officials said they were hopeful those checks are in the mail.
You know, like you tell the collection agency when it calls to ask where your gas payment is.
York Daily Record