On behalf of PennEnvironment’s citizen members, I am writing in opposition to pending Marcellus Shale legislation in the state House, HB1950, in its current form. I ask you to support strengthening amendments being offered to fix this legislation. If these amendments are not included as part of HB1950, PennEnvironment asks you to oppose this legislation when it comes up for a final vote in the House.
HB1950 has become the omnibus legislation offered by the House majority meant to tackle some of the pressing and ongoing issues related to Marcellus Shale gas drilling in the Commonwealth. Unfortunately, the legislation has been drafted in a way to help the gas industry more than the residents of Pennsylvania.
Specifically, PennEnvironment asks you to oppose language in HB1950 that will limit a municipality’s ability to protect its residents or that weakens or standardizes municipal zoning authorities; to support a higher impact fee for the industry—one that comes into line with traditional impact fee or severance tax rates across the nation—versus supporting a fee that is so low that the Harrisburg Patriot News editorial staff referred to it as “corporate welfare;” to increase funding through the impact fee to renew Pennsylvania’s Growing Greener program; to increase bonding to a rate that can cover the true potential costs of plugging, reclaiming, cleaning up and restoring gas drilling sites; and lastly, to dramatically improve the environmental standards in HB1950.
Unless HB1950 is amended to address these problems, PennEnvironment asks you to oppose HB1950.
We ask you to vote YES on strengthening amendments that are brought forward, and if these amendments fail or are not brought up to vote NO on final passage of HB1950.
Please don’t hesitate to call me or email me to discuss this legislation, and thanks in advance for your consideration on this issue.
David Masur, Director