A severance tax on drillers should not apply the proceeds to balance the budget. Then the state becomes complicit in drilling methods used to compromise our environment.
The most obvious and intractable environmental issue involves disposal of polluting frackwater. It may add cost but drillers should be incentivized to recycle and reuse that water rather than dumping it near streams and then fracking with fresh water. Charging for fresh water would promote frackwater recycling.
In addition, many would be happy to hook up to natural gas if only there were lines into their neighborhoods and houses. If the tax were used to construct those lines, drillers would be supporting an increase in local demand and customers for gas. This is preferred to developing new means to export Pennsylvania gas.
We have to consider the use of gas in manufacturing. We need a healthy civilian economy to support employment and our public sector. Many industries use natural gas and if a transfer tax increases their costs, we will encourage out-migration.
The fracking industry prefers bringing in experienced workers to run their operations, which leads to high transience and local unemployment. Funding the training of local workers and veterans helps with both issues.
Pennsylvania has many problems left over from the anthracite, bituminous, and heavy steel eras. It is important that the state learn from its experience with coal and maximize the long term benefit of gas production.
WILLIAM MURPHY, Susquehanna Twp.
Zhejiang Yaang Pipe Industry Co., Limited