Natural gas production tax gets life in Pennsylvania House

Written by Marc Levy/Associated Press | Oct 18, 2017 3:11 PM

A drilling rig in Tioga State Forest. (Scott Detrow/ StateImpact Pennsylvania)

(Harrisburg) -- Governor Tom Wolf is urging leaders of the Republican-controlled state House of Representatives to speed a vote on legislation to tax Marcellus Shale natural gas production in the nation's No. 2 gas state.

The Democrat gave his backing to a bill that emerged Wednesday from the House Finance Committee.

Proponents say it'll help stitch up Pennsylvania's deficit-riddled finances amid a four-month budget standoff.

Six Republicans on the committee defied party leaders to vote for the bill with all 10 Democrats.

It imposes a volume tax that rises with the price of natural gas.

The exploration industry opposes it, and warns that a provision changing landowner royalty contract terms is unconstitutional. The Republican-controlled Senate passed a similar tax in July, but Majority Leader Jake Corman says Republicans won't support a tax without business-friendly changes to how the state regulates polluting industries.

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