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ENERGY AFFORDABILITY AND AVAILABILITY

To be competitive, Pennsylvania businesses must be able to procure plentiful, reliable, and affordable energy. This requires an infrastructure system and a regulatory climate that fosters generation, transmission, and distribution systems throughout the Commonwealth.  The United States is at an historic turning point for the country and its energy policies.  Energy powers our economy and our lives—without it, we are quite literally in the dark. Without access to affordable and reliable supplies of energy, Pennsylvania businesses are forced to move elsewhere, taking jobs and support for the economy with them and impacting our global competitiveness.

With America in the midst of an economic recession, now is not the time to impose new taxes and fees on the nation’s oil and natural gas industry. New taxes and fees kill jobs.  New taxes hurt business and could result in higher prices to consumers.  Higher taxes and fees are a burden felt throughout the economy and discourage business expansion, investment and job creation.  Now more than ever our nation needs to move away from the energy politics that have failed so badly over the past decades and put our nation’s own resources to work for American consumers. 

Pennsylvania’s business community recommends the following steps:

Diversify the Energy Supply
Pennsylvania has a rich history of developing and supplying America’s energy needs through coal, oil, natural gas, hydrogenation, and nuclear fission.  As new sources of energy are harnessed (hydrogen, wind, solar, coal-gas, Marcellus shale gas) state policy should not favor one source or one technology over another.  State policy should seek to develop and exploit all energy sources and technologies, allowing market forces to determine eventual “winners and losers” without government favoritism or sanction. 

Facilitate Development of Marcellus Shale Gas Reserves
Remove regulatory obstacles.  Provide a predictable, smooth, fair, reasonable and expedited permitting process for gas exploration and drilling.  Deal constructively with social costs such as damaged roads or waste water run-off balancing risks and benefits; and apportioning costs fairly. 

Related Legislation:
HB 150:  Drilling moratorium
HB 230:  Marcellus Shale well permitting
HB 232 Marcellus Shael impact study requirement
HB 233 Drilling moratorium
HB 234 Well reporting requirements
HB 768:  Drilling permits/well spacing
HB 833:  Extraction Tax
HB 971:  Well permitting/protection of water
HB 1950:
 County Impact Fees
SB 305 Permitting
SB 425:  Permitting 
SB 426:  Drilling moratorium
SB 601:  Well permitting/protection of water
SB 1100
: Modifications to environmental safeguards as they relate to unconventional gas wells

Severance Taxes and Royalties
The state’s desire to seek windfall tax revenues from new energy sources must be carefully balanced against the risk and fragility of the emerging energy market. Care must also be exercised so that taxes and royalties do not adversely impact existing energy and mineral extraction activities in the Commonwealth.

Related Legislation:

HB 33:      Extraction Tax
SB 352:   Marcellus Shale Severance Tax


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Top Issues

The goal of Pennsylvania policymakers should be to make it the smart business decision for employers to locate, expand, and hire here in this commonwealth rather than in one of our competitor states. Likewise, the goal of federal policymakers ought to be to optimize conditions for economic growth in the United States so American businesses can compete worldwide. This means we must restrain state spending, enact pro-growth business tax relief, provide limits on lawsuit abuse, improve the regulatory climate, and ensure we have a trained workforce. Our state government cannot tax-and-spend the way to good fortune for all; but we can grow the private sector by attracting new business investments and expanding the tax base, then prosperity will surely follow.

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