Tuesday, April 5, 2011

PA Senator wants a moratorium on natural gas-drilling

PA State Senator Jim Ferlo
State Senator Jim Ferlo has introduced legislation that would impose a one-year moratorium on the drilling of wells in the Marcellus Shale.

SB 906, which was introduced yesterday (April 4), would prohibit the drilling of any wells, including wells that  have received prior DEP permits but where drilling has not yet begun.

The bill would establish a commission to study the environmental, social and economic impacts of drilling and recommend legislative changes.

Ferlo, who is in his second  term in the state senate, previously served for 14 years on Pittsburgh's City Council. He sponsored similar moratorium legislation in the last legislative session.

Ferlo also is the sponsor of SB 680 which would impose a severance tax on natural gas drilling.

That measure would send 30% to fund local infrastructure repairs and economic development,
activities, 30% to the Environmental Stewardship Fund, 30% to the Hazardous Sites Cleanup
Fund, and 10% of emergency response training and equipment purchase.

"The gas drilling industry is going to leave scars on the Pennsylvania landscape that will place a cost on state government,” Ferlo said at the time of the bill's introduction.

“A severance tax is uniform and fair, and is not unreasonable when you compare it to our competitor states. We should enact a severance tax now to make sure that we are not making other state taxpayers pay for the impacts of the drilling industry."

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