Does PA Shale Fee Bill Violate “No Tax” Pledge?

A more than three-year legislative battle ended with the Pennsylvania General Assembly passing a comprehensive Marcellus shale policy this week and sending the compromise bill to Gov. Tom Corbett.

Corbett is expected to sign it, but when he does, he will be violating a pledge taken during the 2010 gubernatorial campaign to not raise taxes — and he’s not alone.
The bill does the following:
  • Establishes a 500-foot setback between wells and buildings;
  • Requires a 300-foot setback between wells and waterways;
  • Prohibits local governments from using zoning ordinances to ban gas drilling.
The most controversial part of the bill is the fee, or tax, structure. It will begin with a per-well fee of between $40,000 and $60,000 in the first year after a well is drilled, which will decline to between $5,000 and $10,000 per well by the 15th and final year of the assessment.
The fee will vary with the cost of gas each year and will be set by the state Public Utility Commission, which regulates utility companies in the state.
Click here to read more including the roll call vote of the “No Tax Pledge” Lawmakers.
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