November 18, 2011

Nov. 21 PA Environment Digest Now Available

Nov. 21 PA Environment Digest now available.  Click Here to print this Digest.

Senate, House Send Each Other Marcellus Shale Drilling Fee Bills, Now What?

While a series of competing press events this week for and against school vouchers echoed in the Capitol Rotunda, the Senate and House spent most of their time debating competing proposals for a Marcellus Shale drilling fee and additional environmental protection measures.
            The Senate Tuesday voted 29 to 20 to pass Senate Bill 1100 (Scarnati-R-Jefferson), which includes a uniform, statewide Marcellus Shale drilling fee that would raise $154.6 million in 2012 and a laundry list of additional environmental protection measures.
            House Republicans Thursday voted 107 to 76 to pass their version of a Marcellus Shale bill-- House Bill 1950 (Ellis-R-Butler)-- which includes a county-optional drilling fee and a dozen provisions strengthening environmental protection measures on Marcellus Shale drilling.
            Even though both bills were passed almost exclusively by Republicans in both the Senate and House, they are significantly different in fundamental ways, like on the drilling fee, but in some cases the environmental protection provisions overlap.
            The Gov. Corbett and members of the Senate and House have all said they want to pass a final bill by the time the General Assembly adjourns for the year.