PA DCNR Nears Total Self-Funding from Marcellus Leases/Royalties

Most people would view this as good news: The Pennsylvania Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) is within striking distance of becoming self-funding. Only $30 million (out of a $136.5 million budget) comes out of PA taxpayer pockets–just 22%. We’d call a self-funding government agency nothing short of a miracle! What would PA’s elected Democrats call it? A problem–because the self-funding comes from lease and royalty payments to the DCNR from Marcellus Shale wells drilled on state-owned land, and not from Democrat shell games in moving money around in Harrisburg to derive political power.

Currently about one-third of all state-owned land is leased for potential drilling with a voluntary moratorium on the rest first started by Gov. Rendell and later upheld under Gov. Corbett. Nearly 900 wells have been permitted on state-owned land, of which only 325 are drilled and producing (providing royalties)–so the DCNR may hit total self-funding at some point in the next few years when the other 575 wells get drilled. If partial self-funding has led to the current apoplexy in Harrisburg, total self-funding may lead to a full brain hemorrhage in PA’s elected Democrats…

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