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API of Penn. director speaks out about severance tax study

Associated Petroleum Industries of Pennsylvania’s (API-PA) Executive Director Stephanie Catarino Wissman laid out a new study that focused on the natural gas severance tax Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf is trying to impose.

This morning, Wissman conducted a press briefings on the recent study titled “The Economic Impacts of the Proposed Natural Gas Severance Tax in Pennsylvania.”  The study was conducted by Timothy Considine, along with Natural Resource Economics Inc., and was authorized by the American Petroleum Institution (API).

Wissman explained that the study focuses on the possible economic impacts of the proposed severance tax that is targeting unconventional natural gas producers in Commonwealth. As Wissman expressed, it is obvious that energy is a necessity in our daily lives and for energy-producing states like Pennsylvania, it is extremely important to the economy and plays a huge role in the quality of life of those residing in the state. She also pointed out that America as a whole is trying to find a way to capitalize on the “nation’s energy portfolio to help the economy, increase government revenues, decrease costs for consumers and create jobs.”

During Wissman’s briefing, she explained how the current impact fee on natural gas in the state of Pennsylvania has benefitted the Commonwealth greatly.  The following is an excerpt from the press briefing explaining exactly what the impact fee has accomplished:

The U.S. oil and natural gas industry delivers hundreds of millions of dollars to the Commonwealth. The current local impact tax, which is collected from every shale drilling site in the state, has distributed more than $630 million to communities since 2012 – including more than $224 million in just 2014. That’s on top of over $2.1 billion in state and local taxes already generated by our industry.

As recorded by the Governor’s Department of Environmental Protection, Pennsylvania continues to shatter the Commonwealth’s records in natural gas production, producing more natural gas each year. In 2014 Pennsylvania was among the top two states in the nation for natural gas production with four trillion cubic feet of natural gas produced, a 30 percent increase over 2013’s record production numbers.

Natural gas development supports hundreds of thousands of jobs in Pennsylvania, contributes $34.7 billion annually to the state economy and has boosted profits in more than 1,300 businesses of all sizes up and down the energy supply chain.

While the facts support Wissman’s statement about the current natural gas impact fee being greatly beneficial and agreed upon across all facets of the energy industry and state, Governor Tom Wolf feels that there needs to be an increase.

According to the study, if the Governor’s proposed severance tax increase were to be approved there would be an estimated 113 fewer horizontal wells drilled, over $20 billion in losses and a minimum of 6,000 jobs lost.

In Wissman’s opinion, with support of “The Economic Impacts of the Proposed Natural Gas Severance Tax in Pennsylvania” study, by supporting and approving Wolf’s proposed severance tax the state of Pennsylvania would lose any of the benefits it has gained from the energy industry:

Safe, responsible natural gas development has been good for the state economy, good for local economies and good for Pennsylvanians. We want to keep it that way. Pennsylvania jobs matter.”

To read Wissman’s entire press brief and view the study in its entirety, click here.

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