Friday, June 26, 2009

Predictably, McLinko says gas severance tax, greenhouse bill will hurt Bradford County

“We have a gas industry that’s going to employ hundreds of thousands of people throughout the state—and yet we’re going to punish them before they even get started with (a severance) tax,” said Doug "Drillbit" McLinko.

Interestingly, in a Daily Review reader comment yesterday re: Fortuna spending over $200M here on expansion, sickandtired wrote:
" The public would really like to know, how many permanent, fulltime jobs have been created by this gas endeavor and are being held by local employees??? Seems every time that question is asked it is "unknown".
I pass the Armenia Mountain Windmill Project home station on the corner of Dewey and State every morning. There are many truck there everymorning, but I have seen no Pennsylvania license plates there. Tx, Wy,Wi, Ky, NY Ut, and others, but NO PA. Where are all the jobs we were told would result from these companies? "

TXsharon replies: An answer to the question of how many can be, at least, partially answered by watching Barnett Shale: An Aerial View. As you look down on all the drill sites, drill rigs, compressor stations, etc., count the number of cars and trucks parked around those sites. You won't find many or any.
Published: Friday, June 26, 2009 2:29 AM EDT
TOWANDA — The proposed state severance tax on gas drilling and an energy bill that is scheduled to be voted on today in the U.S. House of Representatives will both hurt Bradford County, Bradford County Commissioner Doug McLinko said.

McLinko said he opposes the severance tax on gas drilling, which he says will place such a large financial burden on gas drilling companies that the smaller companies will stop drilling in the area and the large ones will slow down the pace of their drilling.

In Pennsylvania, gas drilling companies already face the highest corporate net income tax in the nation, McLinko said at the Bradford County commissioners’ meeting.

The Pennsylvania House Energy Committee earlier this week approved legislation which would create the severance tax and which would distribute less than 2 percent of the tax revenue to local municipalities, said Eric Matthews, chairman of the Bradford County Republican Committee.

Sixty percent of the revenue from the severance tax would go to the state’s General Fund to bail out the state from its budget problems, McLinko said.

While the other 40 percent is to be spent “locally”, “a lot of that is for social spending programs,” and only a fraction of the “local” spending would be directed to municipalities, he said.

Pennsylvanians won’t see the severance tax money used for things like creating parks or expanding hospitals, McLinko said.

Greenhouse bill

McLinko said the federal energy bill, which includes cap-and-trade provisions and is aimed at limiting greenhouse gas emissions, will “crush” industries in the county, which are heavily dependent on electricity.

The greenhouse gas legislation will drive up the cost of electricity, home heating fuel and other energy costs, he said.

Bradford County is particularly vulnerable to the price of electricity because, due to its large industrial plants, the county “consumes as much electricity as the city of Baltimore, save one steel mill.”


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