House Democratic Policy Committee explores Marcellus Shale Severance Tax

HARRISBURG, May 22 – The House Democratic Policy Committee today held a public hearing in the state Capitol to discuss a potential Marcellus Shale severance tax.

State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster and Policy Committee Chairman, chaired the hearing.

“It’s important that we implement a fair and reasonable severance tax that reflects what other states with natural resources also impose. I believe they can add a great economic benefit to the state, but that must be done while protecting our resources and quality of life,” Sturla said. “Prices and impact fee revenues are low now because pipelines are not yet in place to export, but when that occurs over the next year or two, we should have a mechanism in place to capture revenue on our natural resources leaving the state.”

Testifiers from state agencies included: Patrick McDonnell, acting secretary, Pa. Department of Environmental Protection; Dennis Davin, secretary, Pa. Department of Community and Economic Development; Gladys Brown, chairman, Pa. Public Utility Commission; and Matthew Knittel, director, Independent Fiscal Office

The committee also heard testimony from the shale and environmental industries including: Jim Welty, vice president of government affairs, Marcellus Shale Coalition; Todd Stager, associate vice president, Pennoni; Kevin Sunday, director of government affairs, Pa. Chamber of Business and Industry; Rob Altenburg, director, PennFuture Energy Center; and Thomas Au, conservation chair, Sierra Club – Pa. Chapter.

Hearing testimony is available at

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