Pa. governor backs tax on gas explorers

July 7, 2010 at 9:06 AM

HARRISBURG, Pa., July 7 (UPI) -- Tapping the vast gas resources locked in shale deposits in Pennsylvania could bring economic stimulus to the state, the governor announced.

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat, said a levy on natural gas extraction would give local communities their fair share of the revenue.

Marcellus Shale gas deposits are locked in the Appalachian Basin. U.S. gas company Chesapeake Energy in 2009 said gross daily production from the gas play reached 100 million cubic feet from approximately 60 wells.

"The rich natural gas deposits in the Marcellus Shale represent a tremendous opportunity in the form of new jobs and economic stimulus to mostly rural communities across the commonwealth," said Rendell.

More than 1,000 natural gas wells were drilled in the Marcellus Shale play in Pennsylvania this year, Rendell's office said in a statement.

The governor said local and county officials are lacking the funds needed to offset gas exploration activity in the state.

"That's why it is absolutely essential that the severance tax we enact pay these host municipalities their fair share," he said. "The drilling activity is going on now, so we need to start working on this tax now so there's no delay in getting them the financial resources they need."

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