Some environmental groups have decried Wolf’s use of the severance tax to help balance the budget.
“The Governor’s plan to raise revenue from fracking is a plan to create sacrifice zones of Pennsylvanian communities to pay for a cost that generations of Pennsylvanians have borne willingly before us–the cost of educating our children,” said Diane Sipe, of the advocacy group Marcellus Outreach Butler.
StateImpact PA: Wolf’s budget plan calls for new tax on natural gas industry
“The fact that DEP has verified 253 cases of contamination of private water wells by oil and gas operations should be enough evidence to convince the Governor to stop the bleeding. It’s simply wrong to sacrifice communities,” said Tracy Carluccio of Delaware Riverkeeper Network.
Energywire: Wolf takes his natural gas plan to Legislature (users need a subscription to access this content)
“This tax encourages more dangerous fracking and deludes Pennsylvanians into thinking that we are fiscally better off for doing so,” Sam Bernhardt of Food & Water Watch wrote in an emailed statement.
For Immediate Release
For more information:
Karen Feridun, Berks Gas Truth, 610-678-7726
Tracy Carluccio, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, 215-369-1188 x 104
Sam Bernhardt, Food & Water Watch, 267-428-1903
Responding to Wolf Budget Address, Pennsylvanians Against Fracking Says Frack Tax Is Not Sustainable Solution Schools and State Need
Harrisburg, Pa: Today, following Governor Tom Wolf’s budget address, Pennsylvanians Against Fracking called on Governor Tom Wolf’s to abandon his plan to tax fracking in favor of bringing the dangerous extraction practice to a halt. The group criticized Wolf’s severance tax as an unsustainable quick fix that ties education to a boom-bust industry, and thus is bad for education and bad for Pennsylvania.
“The Governor’s plan to raise revenue from fracking is a plan to create sacrifice zones of Pennsylvanian communities to pay for a cost that generations of Pennsylvanians have borne willingly before us—the cost of educating our children. Poisoning the air and water for any reason is unconstitutional and Governor Wolf is duty bound to enforce Act 1, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution,” said Diane Sipe of Marcellus Outreach Butler.
“Public health and environmental considerations aside, it’s just fiscally irresponsible to tie our state’s budget to an up-and-down industry like fracking.” Sam Bernhardt of Food & Water Watch. “This tax encourages more dangerous fracking, and deludes Pennsylvanians into thinking that we are fiscally better off for doing so.”
“Wolf’s severance tax proposal might have sounded more reasonable to some when Rendell proposed it when he was in office, but we know a lot more about fracking than we did then. More than 425 peer-reviewed studies now confirm a host of environmental, health, climate, and economic impacts that have already cost the state far more than a tax could ever generate,” says Karen Feridun of Berks Gas Truth.
Last summer, Auditor General Eugene Depasquale announced the results of a performance audit of the state’s Department of Environmental Protection, concluding the agency was “woefully” unprepared to deal with the shale gas boom. The Department of Health was similarly ill equipped and actually discouraged its staffers from engaging with people reporting fracking-related health complaints. Poor record keeping and responsiveness at both agencies have deprived the state of the data it needs to assess the impacts affecting Pennsylvanians.
One needs look no farther than the impacted communities, however, to quickly assess that the damage has been profound and that fracking just isn’t worth it, no matter what level a tax is assessed at.
“The fact that DEP has verified 253 cases of contamination of private water wells by oil and gas operations should be enough evidence to convince the Governor and his environmental agency to stop the bleeding. It’s simply wrong to sacrifice communities and families suffering these impacts so the state can balance its budget,” said Tracy Carluccio of Delaware Riverkeeper Network.
Tuesday morning leading up to the budget address, Pennsylvanians Against Fracking distributed fliers making light of the Governor’s fracking tax plan. “Are you a state with budget problems?” the flier asks Wolf and other decision-makers in Harrisburg. “Are you looking to making a quick buck, no matter what harms may come? We have your solution: frack tax!” The full flier can be viewed here.
Coalition members also live-tweeted references to several studies and reports illustrating the negative impacts of fracking during the address.
Pennsylvanians Against Fracking is a statewide coalition of organizations, institutions, and businesses calling for a halt to fracking in the Commonwealth.
Learn more about Pennsylvanians Against Fracking at paagainstfracking.org.