Pennsylvania is sitting on a proverbial gold mine of natural gas. Known as Marcellus shale, it is likely to be the biggest natural gas reserve in the U.S. It is already a windfall for landowners as many gas companies are moving throughout our state buying drilling rights. It is expected that the biggest landowners will be paid millions of dollars up front, with more to follow if wells drilled on their land produce gas. It also has the makings, once natural gas prices rise from their recent historic lows, of being a huge economic windfall to our state.
But we are the only state that does not have an extraction tax on natural gas. This is not a coincidence. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the industry spent more than $1 million lobbying the Legislature in the first half of this year.
This isn’t about just the next few months, it is about the next 10 years. Texas and Louisiana figured out how to reap significant benefits from the natural gas under their states. Pennsylvania needs to take advantage of this natural resources gift as well.