PA Gov. Wolf Visits NEPA to Barter for Marcellus Severance Tax

Hoping to pressure the Republican legislature to adopt a budget with a new severance tax, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (Democrat) visited two towns in northeast PA yesterday that are in the heart of Marcellus Shale country. One of those towns is the bucolic village of Tunkhannock, in Wyoming County. MDN editor Jim Willis visited Tunkhannock a few months ago to attend an Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline rally (see Atlantic Sunrise Pipe Rally: ‘Time to Kick Politicians in the Ass’). During his visit yesterday, Wolf said there has been progress in the budget talks, but things are stalled at the moment. The big point Wolf made, the reason for the visit, is that $1 million of state money promised to Tunkhannock to run gas lines in the area for local utilities to tap into abundant, local Marcellus gas is on hold because of the budget impasse. Wolf was dangling a $1 million carrot, implying that if the local yokels want that money to run new gas lines, they dang well better support his plan to pass the budget–a plan that includes a severance tax on the Marcellus. That’s how we read it. From Tunkhannock, Wolf traveled north to Montrose, in Susquehanna County, where he visited the Endless Mountains Hospital–a hospital largely built with Marcellus money from Cabot Oil & Gas. If Wolf’s severance tax had been in place, that hospital would not have gotten built…

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