PA Republican Senate Changes Lease Terms for Landowners

The Pennsylvania State budget is a complicated pile of…bills. At it’s core are three basic budget-related bills that implement the $31.9 billion state budget (unwisely) passed in June. It was unwisely passed because Republican lawmakers voted for a plan to spend money without having a way to pay for it. Stupid. PA Gov. Tom Wolf (liberal Democrat) demanded part of the new revenue required to pay for all that wild spending is to tax the Marcellus industry with a severance tax–on top of the existing impact tax (already the equivalent of a severance tax in other states). One of the three main bills to pay for the budget is the Fiscal Code bill–House Bill 674. HB 674 was adopted by the PA Senate on Monday (vote of 41-9). In the Senate version, which now goes to the House for final adoption, there are a number of “environmental riders”–or bits of legislation that have nothing to do with the budget or spending, but tacked on as a way of getting them passed without the mess of voting on them individually. Swamp politics. One of those provisions is “SECTION 1610-E” which gives drillers the right to reactivate old, non-producing wells after they have not been producing (and the lease considered terminated) under certain conditions…

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