Report is Nothing More Than an Industry Infomercial

July 25, 2011—-Senator Larry Farnese today rejected the Governor’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission report as a whitewash that amounts to nothing more than an infomercial for the natural gas industry.

“This report is nothing more than a sales pitch for gas drillers,” said Senator Farnese.

Farnese criticized the supposed “comprehensive” report for failing to address environmental impacts or to even consider a severance tax on gas extraction.

“The Corbett administration has repeated for months that it wanted a report based on fact and science, not emotion,” said Farnese, “then arbitrarily prohibited the committee from even holding a debate on issues like a severance tax. That’s not science or fact, it’s misplaced political ideology.”

Farnese said a truly fair and comprehensive report would have looked at past experience with drilling in other states and conducted an honest assessment of potential environmental impacts and an evaluation of various severance tax scenarios. “This industry can create jobs and benefit Pennsylvania, but there needs to be proper oversight and drillers need to pay their fair share of the burden,” said Farnese.

The Commission further added insult to injury by backing the practice of ‘pooling,’ which according to the Oil & Gas Conservation Law, allows for the extraction of oil or gas from underneath a property from a well in an adjacent property.

“The industry calls this ‘fair,’ said Senator Farnese. I call it ‘forced,’ and it clearly favors the industry over the rights of property owners.”

Senator Farnese said that the Commission missed a golden opportunity to create a thoughtful, comprehensive report that included an objective evaluation of the issues. Instead, the commission, composed of industry and administration officials, created an infomercial.

“Overall, there is a lack of real intellectual curiosity in the report except for the issues the industry wants to discuss,” said Senator Farnese.”

Farnese said he would look to hold additional hearings to address the issues the commission refused to discuss.