CANONSBURG, Pa. – Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) president and executive director Kathryn Klaber today issued the following statement in response to claims that the natural gas industry declined a meeting requested by Governor Ed Rendell to discuss state policy issues:
“It is important that the Marcellus Shale Coalition clarify the record regarding a meeting planned among industry representatives, Gov. Ed Rendell and other groups, scheduled for the morning of January 19, 2010. The industry did not decline the Governor’s request for a meeting. In fact, invited CEOs went one step further and requested that every member company of the MSC’s Executive Committee and their representatives participate in the meeting along with leaders of the Pennsylvania House and Senate in order to make real progress on the opportunity natural gas presents for the Commonwealth. The MSC team was en route to this scheduled meeting when we were notified by the Governor’s office that the meeting had been canceled due to an emergency trip to Haiti that demanded the Governor’s attention. We regret that the meeting didn’t take place, but understand that he needed to make relief in Haiti his priority that day. In addition, we have clearly indicated our willingness to meet with all engaged stakeholders, including Senate and House leadership, to discuss upcoming policy and legislative issues in the Commonwealth. In fact, our industry reiterated this commitment in a February 9 press statement.”
“The Governor has also made reference to public opinion regarding our industry. Our research and observations in the communities where we do business shows that support for our industry continues to grow. Just last week a poll released by a leading Pennsylvania newspaper found that most Pennsylvanians do not support the Governor’s proposed severance tax, which would be the highest in the nation for shale gas producing states. Tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians have become partners in the development of our vast natural gas resources by actively signing leases with natural gas producers. Natural gas producers receive requests daily from interested landowners who have not yet signed a lease. Our industry has paid more than $4 billion to landowners in the form of lease and royalty payments, and those numbers will only increase. Thousands of Pennsylvanians are working in the gas industry today, and workforce development programs are expanding across the Commonwealth. Most importantly for the Governor to observe is the $1 billion in total state and local tax revenue that this still-growing industry will create in 2010.
“All of this positive economic activity for Pennsylvanians is taking place at a time when producers will not recover these significant investments for several more years. This is just the beginning and we must work together to maximize the opportunity for the betterment of all Pennsylvanians.”