DEP Consultant ICF Accused of Supporting Carbon Tax, Conflicts

Pennsylvania State Sen. Gene Yaw, Majority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, is hammering ICF International, a consultant hired by the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP). The DEP has paid $874,000 (so far) to ICF for research relating to “climate change.” ICF is providing research used by the DEP to justify Gov. Wolf’s harebrained idea to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a carbon tax scheme meant to drive natgas electric plants out of existence in the state. All in the name of saving Mom Earth. Ludicrous. ICF, supposedly impartial, appears to be anything but according to Yaw.
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PA Small Business Compliance Advisory Ctte Votes NO on Carbon Tax

The Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) has a number of committees under its umbrella. Volunteers from business, non-profit groups and other sectors sit on these committees in an effort to provide helpful feedback to the department from the people who must live under the regulations (sometimes onerous) the DEP cooks up. The Small Business Compliance Advisory Committee (SBCAC) is one such committee. SBCAC has just voted against Gov. Wolf’s cockamamie plan to tax “carbon” from gas-fired electric plants.
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PA House Votes to Pass Resurrected Petchem Bill, Wolf to Sign

Yesterday MDN told you the full Pennsylvania State Senate, with an overwhelming bipartisan majority, voted on and passed a bill to grant tax break incentives to huge petrochemical plants willing to build new facilities in PA–facilities that will use Marcellus Shale methane (see PA Senate Votes to Pass Resurrected Petchem Bill in Record Time). Later in the day yesterday, the full House wasted no time in passing the same bill–by a whopping 163-38. Gov. Wolf said as soon as the bill hits his desk he’s going to sign it. Victory!
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Huge Bipartisan Majority in PA House Votes to Block Carbon Tax

Yesterday the Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted 130 to 71 (with overwhelming bipartisan support) to pass House Bill (HB) 2025 which would block Gov. Wolf’s attempt to force PA into a northeast carbon tax scheme. We’ve written plenty about Wolf’s plan to force the state to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI (see Gov. Wolf Goes Bonkers: EO Destroying Gas-Fired Elec, Carbon Tax).
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PA Nuke Industry Loves Wolf Carbon Tax Shutting Down Gas Plants

Are you surprised that Pennsylvania’s big money nuclear power lobby loves PA Gov. Tom Wolf’s plan to tax nuke plants’ biggest competitor, natural gas-fired plants, out of existence? We aren’t surprised. Nuclear Powers Pennsylvania, lobbying group for PA’s nuclear power plants, is urging PA legislators to drop a bill that will block Wolf’s insane attempt at forcing the state to join a group of liberal northeastern states in something called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). RGGI forces its members to slap high taxes on energy that produces carbon dioxide–the stuff you breathe out with every single breath you take. Ludicrous.
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PA IFO Predicts 2 Possible Scenarios for 2020 Impact Tax Revenue

The Pennsylvania Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) does a good job of guesstimating how much impact fee revenue will get generated in the coming year, based on permit and producing wells activity in the current year. Impact fees are PA’s equivalent of a severance tax–a fee paid by drillers for each new well they drill, paid over a 15-year period. This year IFO is offering up two scenarios for how much money the state will receive in impact fee revenues next year (based on wells drilled and active this year). One scenario is based on natgas prices averaging at least $2.25/MMBtus (million British Thermal Units) on the NYMEX, and the other scenario assumes gas prices slip below that level.
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PA PUC Distributes $200M from Impact Tax, Down $52M from Prev Yr

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Each June the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), the agency charged with keeping tabs on impact fee revenue from shale drillers (PA’s version of a severance tax) releases the final numbers for impact fee revenues and disbursements for the prior calendar year. Yesterday was the appointed day for 2019 fee revenue generated. The PUC reports impact fees on natural gas producers in 2019 totaled $200,364,500, down roughly $52 million from $251,830,900 generated in 2018. With this year’s distribution, over the past nine years, PA has collected and distributed over $1.9 billion to communities across Pennsylvania–a massive amount!
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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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