The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported 31 House Democrats have signed on to a letter to House Democratic Leadership opposing leasing additional State Forest lands for natural gas drilling.
The maneuver prompted Leadership to schedule a vote today on House Bill 1489 (George-D-Clearfield) which would put a severance tax in place.
The letter, not released to the public, made these points--
1. Don't strip the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources of its power to decide how much, if any, additional State Forest land should be leased to drill for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale formation.
2. Don't permanently eliminate the agency's Oil and Gas Fund, so that lease payments for state land and from royalties paide on oil and gas taken from those lands would be shifted into the state's General Fund instead of being used to fix State Parks and Forests, as it has for the past 50 years.
3. Enact a severance tax on natural gas production coming from the Marcellus Shale.
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