PA Gov. Wolf’s Own DEP Doesn’t Want RGGI Carbon Tax

Big time opposition continues to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s plan to force the state to participate in the so-called Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a tax on carbon aimed at coal and natural gas-fired electric power plants, with an eye to driving them out of business (see our RGGI stories here). Even Wolf’s own state Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP), an executive agency under his thumb, doesn’t want the state to join RGGI.
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PA Trade Unions Break with Democrats Over Power Plant Carbon Tax

It becomes more obvious every day that the rank and file (even the leaders) of trade unions are breaking with their Democrat Party bosses over issues like insane taxes on natural gas. The divide is particularly acute in blue states like Pennsylvania, which voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and likely will again in 2020 because the Dems keep shooting themselves in the head with stupid taxes and regulations that kill jobs. The PA AFL-CIO issued a statement yesterday thanking the PA Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee, part of the Dept. of Environmental Protection, for listening to the union’s concerns about Gov. Wolf’s proposed carbon tax at a recent hearing.
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58 PA House Members – Repubs & Dems – Ask Wolf to Stop Carbon Tax

We previously told you about Gov. Wolf’s executive order (EO) to force Pennsylvania to join with northeastern states in the so-called Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a regional alliance to slap a carbon tax on coal and natural gas-fired electric plants in order to force them out of business (see Gov. Wolf Goes Bonkers: EO Destroying Gas-Fired Elec, Carbon Tax). Eighteen PA State Senators sent a letter to Wolf on April 21 asking him to withdraw his EO (see 18 PA Republican Senators Ask Gov. Wolf to Cancel Carbon Tax Plan). On Tuesday a group of 58 House members, including 10 Democrats, sent a similar letter to Wolf requesting the same thing.
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PTT Cracker Project Reaches Tax Agreement with Belmont County, OH

Even amid the coronavirus pandemonium and economic destruction happening everywhere, important oil and gas (and petrochemical) projects continue to make progress. In particular, the PTT Global Chemical plan to build an ethane cracker plant in Belmont County, OH still shows signs of life. In February PTT’s CEO signaled that a final investment decision on whether (or not) to build a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker in Belmont County, OH is coming by “mid-year 2020” (see PTT CEO Sends Loud & Clear Signal of Positive FID on OH Cracker). While work to prep the site and get it ready is now paused, work behind the scenes continues. Last week Belmont County commissioners, Mead Township trustees and the Shadyside Board of Education approved a new deal on tax payments should the project get built. This is a major milestone.
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Continental’s Harold Hamm Plans to Fight Saudi/Russia “Dumping”

Back in the day, your humble editor, Jim Willis, worked first an intern and later as a paid staffer in the Ronald Reagan White House. Very cool experience for a hick kid from Upstate New York. After a stint at the White House, Jim stayed in D.C. and went to work on Capitol Hill, working for Congresswoman Helen Bentley (Republican from Maryland). One of Bentley’s favorite issues was to fight against the dumping of machine tools by foreign companies on the American market. Companies in other counties would sell machine tools here more cheaply than it cost them to make, using backdoor funding from their governments to make up the difference. Eventually, our machine tool companies couldn’t compete and would go out of business, leaving the market wide open to foreign competitors, at which time they would jack their prices up.
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BP’s U.S. Boss Goes Political, Supports Wolf Carbon Tax in PA

Susan Dio, BP America boss

Remember the term “affluenza“? The term describes people ashamed of their wealth, their privilege, of who they are. It describes people ashamed that daddy or mommy made the money and they don’t *really* deserve it. So what is it called when a fossil fuel company like British Petroleum (BP) is ashamed of what they do (produce carbon)? Maybe C-O-2-enza? Carbenza? Whatever it’s called, BP has a serious case of it. What a shame that the company that produces and sells/resells (via natural gas trading) more CO2 energy than any other company on planet earth, believes they must atone for their carbon “sins” by lobbying in favor of a tax on the very thing they produce. It’s asinine, and it’s happening in Pennsylvania.
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Unions & Businesses Form Coalition to Fight PA Carbon Tax

Big time opposition continues to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s plan to force the state to participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a tax on carbon aimed at coal and natural gas-fired electric power plants, with an eye to driving them out of business. We’ve written plenty about Wolf’s naked power grab, to force the state into RGGI without the legislature’s consent (see our RGGI stories here). In January we told you about a huge number of trade union members lining up to oppose the plan (see 130,000 PA Union Members Join Fight Against Wolf’s Carbon Tax). Those unionists have joined forces with the companies they work for in a coalition called Power PA Jobs Alliance with a mission to defeat RGGI in PA.
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OH Supreme Court Rules REX Pipe Owes $2M in Excise Tax

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the Ohio tax commissioner correctly charged Tallgrass Energy’s Rockie Express (REX) pipeline $2 million in excise tax (based on $699 million of income), for gas transported from and to (within) Ohio. REX claimed it did not owe the tax because the same law that exempts gas transported out of state applies to gas sales in-state. But the tax commission, and now the Supremes, say that the portion of gas transported through REX that stays in Ohio is not exempt and can be taxed. So pay up.
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PA Gov Wolf’s $4.5B Severance Tax Debacle Dead as a Doornail

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s Santa Claus routine is wearing thin. As he has done year after year with his annual proposed budgets, Wolf once again is calling for a massive tax increase of $4.5 billion, assessed solely on the Marcellus Shale industry, in order to fund a panoply of projects (see Wolf Lies About 2020 Proposed Budget – Includes $4.5B Tax Increase). The PA House and Senate (both chambers controlled by Republican majorities) are standing firm against Wolf’s desire to tax the Marcellus out of existence. They recognize his tax would kill the goose laying economic golden eggs in the state.
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Snyder Bros Off the Hook for Penalties & Interest re Strippers

In December 2018, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that so-called “stripper wells” (low-producing wells) can be taxed under the 2012 Act 13 law, slapped with an impact tax assessment if those wells produce more than 90 thousand cubic feet per day (Mcf/d) of gas in a single month, any month (see PA Supreme Court Rules Strippers Not Exempt from Impact Fee). Snyder Brothers, the driller whose stripper wells were the target of the lawsuit, asked the Supremes to reconsider their decision. They did, kicking elements of the case down to a lower court (Commonwealth Court). Synder still owes the impact tax, that’s not in question. But Snyder argued they shouldn’t also have to pay interest and late-payment penalties just because they challenged the original assessment.
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Wolf Lies About 2020 Proposed Budget – Includes $4.5B Tax Increase

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf flat out, 100% lied when he introduced his latest annual budget on Tuesday, declaring “it doesn’t raise taxes.” B.S. As he has done for the past six budgets, Wolf once again is calling for a new severance tax on the Marcellus. On top of the existing impact tax (the equivalent of a severance tax). Wolf’s plan calls for a new tax that would steal $4.5 billion out of the pockets of drillers and landowners in order to redistribute their hard-earned wealth to a panoply of others.
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PA Gov Wolf Makes Another Push to Kill Marcellus with Severance Tax

Little Johnny one-note, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, is once again singing a single note–and that note is a call to destroy what’s left of the PA Marcellus industry with a severance tax. He sang his one-note tune yesterday, doing his best Santa Claus routine. Wolf says he can give away $4.5 billion of “everything” PA residents desire most in life–if only the evil Republican leadership in both chambers of the legislature would allow a vote on his plan.
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PA Rep. Metcalfe Calls Wolf “Rogue Governor” – Can’t Force RGGI

The gloves are off in Harrisburg. We previously told you about Gov. Wolf’s plan to have PA join with northeastern states in the so-called Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a regional alliance to slap a carbon tax on natural gas-fired electric plants (see Gov. Wolf Goes Bonkers: EO Destroying Gas-Fired Elec, Carbon Tax). PA Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (Republican from Butler County, PA), Majority Chair of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, sent a letter yesterday to the RGGI Executive Committee saying PA has a “rogue Governor” (his exact words) who lacks the authority to force PA to participate in RGGI without legislative approval.
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IFO Projects 2019 PA Impact Fee Revenue Fell by $53.6M (21%)

In 2019 Pennsylvania raised a record high of $247 million from its version of a severance tax, called an impact fee, based on drilling activity from 2018 (see PA IFO Report Says Record High Impact Tax for 2018 – $247M). The state’s Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) is out with projections for how much revenue will be raised this year (based on drilling in 2019). Given we hit a downturn last year, you won’t be surprised to learn the impact fee will drop by $53.6 million (21%), to a projected $198.2 million.
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Ohio Court: Utica Frackers Owed Sales Tax Refunds for Equipment

Good news for oilfield services companies that offer fracking services in the Ohio Utica Shale. The Tenth District Ohio Court of Appeals recently ruled that an amendment to an existing law granting tax exempt status for oil and gas equipment not only applies to equipment purchased by frackers from now on, it also applies to equipment they’ve purchased (and paid sales tax on) going back in time too. In other words, some frackers are owed refunds on the sales tax they’ve paid in the past.
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