A recent letter to the editor from Len Schoettker is riddled with misinformation and claims that simply run contrary to the facts. Eagle readers and my neighbors in Butler County deserve accurate information, not rhetoric designed to divide this community and instill fear.
Here are some important facts and context:
- According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, carbon dioxide emissions are at a 20-year low thanks to the expanded use of natural gas to generate electricity. Additionally, Pennsylvania has some of the most robust emissions regulations in the country, in place to protect and enhance our environment. Air quality is improving, thanks to natural gas.
- To suggest that the hundreds of men and women who work at the Department of Environmental Protection are not doing their job is disrespectful and unsubstantiated. DEP inspectors perform thousands of inspections each year. And while natural gas companies strive for 100 percent compliance, these inspections do result in fines and violations. These public servants have chosen a career at the Department of Environmental Protection — meaning, they care deeply about the protecting our environment.
- Pennsylvania has generated more than $630 million in natural gas impact fee taxes over the past three years and another $2.1 billion in related tax revenue since 2008. These impact fees were made possible by Act 13, a piece of bipartisan legislation that strengthened environmental standards and generated a new revenue stream for local and county governments. In fact, Connoquenessing Township has received more than $500,000 in impact fee taxes, while local communities throughout Butler and the county itself have taken in nearly $9.7 million over the past three years. Additionally, state officials from Butler championed efforts to heighten Act 13 standards of development to protect districts across the state as 60 percent of the Marcellus development areas of Pennsylvania had no formal zoning requirements.
- The safety of our employees and the communities where we operate is our first and foremost priority. In the few isolated incidents where there has been an incident, state safety and setback requirements have proven to be effective in protecting the public.
As an industry operating in the same communities we call home, we are committed to a fact-based and informed dialogue and welcome others, including Mr. Schoettker, to join us in this commitment.
David J. Spigelmyer
President, Marcellus Shale Coalition
NOTE: Click HERE to view this letter online.