Governor Corbett has predicted Pennsylvania’s General Assembly will pass a broad Marcellus Shale bill – possibly including an impact fee on extraction – this fall. Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi is on the same page.
Speaking on a panel at the Marcellus Shale Coalition’s “Shale Gas Insight” conference, the Republican said he’s “optimistic” a regulatory measure can move through the House and Senate before the year’s end, but reiterated any levy would be driven to counties and municipalities, not state government. “So long as [Governor] Corbett maintains his [anti-tax] position, it’s not very productive” to talk about a broad severance tax, he said. “I’m focused on what we can achieve legislatively this fall, and a severance tax is not one of those achievables.”
The Corbett Administration wants its Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission to drive that debate, but Pileggi dismissed its impact on the bills Senate Republicans are crafting. “I don’t think the legislative agenda has changed much post-commission report,” he said, “other than clarifying the administration’s position.” Pileggi was much more diplomatic in this assessment than his partner, Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati, who usually speaks for Senate Republicans on shale issues. This summer, Scarnati blasted the panel as a stalling tactic.