By THE DAILY NEWS
At a Harrisburg news conference, state Rep. David Levdansky, D-Forward
Township , criticized a House
Republican budget proposal that calls for leasing an additional 390,000
acres of state forest land for Marcellus Shale drilling.
Levdansky called the plan short-sighted and irresponsible because it
would raise revenue for the state budget by selling leases to private
contractors to drill in the state’s forests.
“We should not permit the private exploitation of our greatest natural
resources for private gain,” Levdansky
said. “Leasing these lands for drilling would permanently fragment the
forest ecosystem by constructing pipelines, access roads, and drilling
sites in the most remote and ecologically sensitive areas of the state.”
Levdansky is a supporter of Gov. Ed Rendell’s proposal to tax natural
gas extraction. House Bill 1489 calls for a 5 percent tax on the gross
value of natural gas extracted at the well head, and 4.7 cents for every
1,000 cubic feet extracted.
Levdansky said it is the same structure applied by neighboring West
Virginia. He also said the tax would not apply to smaller “stripper”
wells producing 60,000 standard cubic feet or less a day.