MSC Corrects Pa. Lawmaker’s Blatantly Inaccurate Grandstanding

Following the “blatant inaccuracies” Sen. Vincent Hughes shared during recent testimony on natural gas development, MSC’s Dave Spigelmyer sent a letter to the senator that corrects the record.

Here’s what you need to know from Spigelmyer’s letter:

On the taxing of natural gas development:

“In addition to paying every other tax imposed upon Pennsylvania businesses, Act 13 of 2012, which you supported, established the Impact Fee on every unconventional operator drilling wells in the state. Make no mistake, this is a tax on doing business in the Commonwealth that no other state levies, and, by the way, it was contemplated in lieu of a production-based tax.”

“Act 13 ‘reaches back’ and requires the impact tax to be paid on every well, including those drilled and put into production prior to 2012. So indeed, the industry HAS been paying taxes in Pennsylvania since the onset of development, including every business tax required AND the industry-targeted impact tax. Any conclusion otherwise is just wrong.”

“Through 2017, [the impact tax] will have generated nearly $1.5 billion in new tax revenue since its enactment. This should be celebrated and not dismissed or devalued, as it so-deliberately is in today’s discussion of the industry.”

On private mineral ownership in the United States:

“Your claim that the natural gas is “ours” reflects a socialistic concept of property rights and mineral ownership that thankfully is non-existent in the United States. … Unlike most other countries, from Russia to Saudi Arabia and Venezuela to Mexico, the coal, oil, natural gas, aggregates and other mineral rights in the United States do not belong to the state. Rather, the minerals in Pennsylvania belong to private citizens who hold title to it.”

On direct consumer savings tied to natural gas:

“Another key fact that demonstrates further value of this industry that should be celebrated is that your constituents have saved nearly $1,500/year on average through lower energy costs due to industry’s investment, as evidenced by PECO’s purchased gas costs falling 69% between 2008 and 2016. Logic would dictate that these consumer benefits should instill caution against raising the cost to produce natural gas in the Commonwealth, which even the Governor recognizes would have a negative impact on consumers of gas and electric.”

On hard-working Pennsylvanians producing clean, affordable energy:

“While there is a clear and disturbing narrative from the Governor and the public-sector unions to denigrate “Big Oil & Gas,” such hyperbole merely impugns the women and men who go to work each day with jobs directly in or supported by this industry. Thousands of these Pennsylvanians are members of the building trades, including those men and women working at the Marcus Hook refinery which has served as a shining example of how the natural gas industry presents infinite opportunities.

It is the tens-of-thousands of employees, and the hundreds of thousands of family members who rely on those jobs, that you insult with such unabashed rhetoric.”

As Spigelmyer concluded, “we need honest discussions driven by real facts, not false narratives and grandstanding that many, such as Sen. Hughes, have chosen to pursue.”