MSC in Butler Eagle: New energy taxes will make Pa. less competitive

While the Oct. 7 editorial (Debate over natural gas exports is complicated) suggests the United States should go slow on strengthening energy security through expanding natural gas trade with our key allies around the world, these common sense policies are supported by the White House, congressional Democrats and Republicans, independent national security experts and economists — including the liberal Brookings Institution — as well as labor, business and manufacturing organizations.

Thanks to responsible shale development, our nation has shifted from a position of scarcity, weakness and dependence on unstable regions of the world to meet our growing energy needs to an outlook that’s grounded in abundance, enhanced security as well as geopolitical and economic strength.

President Obama once again underscored these benefits in a recent speech at Northwestern University, stating: “Today, the No. 1 oil and gas producer in the world is no longer Russia or Saudi Arabia. It’s America.” The president added: “Meanwhile, our 100-year supply of natural gas is a big factor in drawing jobs back to our shores. Many are in manufacturing — which produce the quintessential middle-class job.”

As it relates to taxes, the editorial baselessly suggests Pennsylvania is “subsidizing the natural gas industry by not imposing an extraction tax.” To be absolutely clear, shale development has generated more than $2.8 billion in various tax and fee revenues across the commonwealth. In fact, in just three years, Butler County and its municipalities have received nearly $10 million in impact fee tax revenues, which are helping to fund important local infrastructure improvement projects, keeping taxes low for families and boosting the overall community.

While we are confident we can continue to build upon this positive progress, common sense policies that encourage investment in Pennsylvania will be crucial to maximizing these shared benefits.

New energy taxes will, without question, make Pennsylvania a less competitive state in which to invest and work. Our leaders should focus on efforts that will help foster even more job growth across the region rather than new energy taxes.

And Pennsylvanians recognize these benefits — in the form of more jobs, many for local unions, and economic opportunity; lower energy bills for families, schools and hospitals; a renewed manufacturing base; cleaner air; as well as much-needed tax and fee revenue.

Put simply, producing enough energy to meet our nation’s needs and trading some of our job-creating resources with allied nations around the world — so that both they and we don’t have to rely on unstable regions of the world, like Russia — to fuel our economies is a positive step toward further strengthening American energy security.

Dave Spigelmyer, president
Marcellus Shale Coalition
Cranberry Township

NOTE: Click HERE to view this letter online.