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Not Fond of the Scarnati Plan

I previously posted that I wasn’t categorically opposed to a tax or fee for natural gas extraction, but I put out some pretty steep conditions that I was looking for.  The Scarnati framework doesn’t meet those conditions.

Quoting myself:

Show me a genuine economic externality (– not the phoney-baloney stuff that’s been making most of the headlines) that is not addressable by current law, and that is unique to the gas industry, and I’ll support a gas tax/fee, and only insofar as the money never goes through Harrisburg and only addresses economic externalities from gas.

The Scarnati plan falls significantly short on those fronts.

Elizabeth Stelle at the Commonwealth Foundation explains:

It is not local. A significant portion of the fees collected (40%) will be directed to statewide programs; much of the “local impact fee” would leave local communities where drilling is occurring.

It goes beyond local impact. Many programs that will likely receive portions of these “fees” do not address any of the local environmental or infrastructure impacts caused by gas drilling. Furthermore, drilling companies are already held responsible for environmental and infrastructure damages by current law and regulations. Drilling companies are required to put up bonds for all posted roads and bridges, repair any damage they cause and are responsible for any groundwater contamination within 1,000 feet of each well.

Also, a retroactive tax/fee? Seriously? Is that even constitutional?

April 29, 2011 at 2:18 pm
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