Editor, Gettysburg Times,
I read with interest Rep. Dan Moul’s recent legislative newsletter.
What struck me was a proposed state bill to use federal money to plug over 200,000 abandoned wells in our state.
Why were the companies involved in extracting gas and oil from under our homes and farms not required to clean up and plug those wells before abandoning them? Why did we need to wait for federal dollars (the taxes we pay to the federal government) to do the job for them?
The state General Assembly majority seems to feel that the gas and oil industry in Pennsylvania needs protection.
Even as these companies drain our natural resources, they leave behind environmental problems for us to clean up. Meanwhile, where does the gas and oil go?
I ‘ve heard the excuse that Pennsylvania should not levy the same kinds of taxes on extraction that other states do, because we need the jobs. Really? Of the 24,000 extraction jobs in the state, how many of the workers are Pennsylvanians? Are not most of the workers from out-of-state, with profits also flowing out of the state?
You may recall in Alaska, when large oil resources were developed years ago, each citizen of that state received some of the windfall from that exploitation of resources. In 2021, residents received $1,114 each. On top of that, Alaska residents pay no state income or sale tax. I truly anticipated the same thing for Pennsylvania citizens.
This is not to suggest that those making taxing decisions in Pennsylvania were unduly influenced by extraction industries in our state, or that they somehow personally benefited. Those industries have paid under $600 million annually in taxes in Pennsylvania. But we are still paying tribute to a gas and oil industry that is reaping record profits.
The state legislature has offered the industry $2 billion in tax credits over a 25-year period. The state should insist on profit-sharing from those industries, who apparently are messy and unable to clean up after themselves.
How is it that we are sitting on such a windfall of natural resources and still paying top dollar at the gas pump?
Who is responsible for this mess? We can only look at the state House and Senate, both of which are under Republican majorities.
Perhaps now is the time to vote them out, and allow Pennsylvanians to benefit from our blessing of natural resources.