New anti-frack group to rally Nov. 18

Pennsylvanians Against Fracking to hold new governor's feet to the fire


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The coalition

The groups that make up Pennsylvanians Against Fracking include:
Air Soil Water
Berks Gas Truth
Citizens for Clean Water
Communities United for Rights and Environment
Diagnostic Energy Auditors of Western Pennsylvania
Energy in Denial
Energy Justice Network
Families United for a Safe Environment
Fracking Truth Alliance of Lawrence
Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition of Luzerne County
Green Party of Pennsylvania
Green Party of Montgomery County
Green Party of Philadelphia
Interfaith Sacred Earth Coalition
Leigh Valley Gas Truth
Marcellus Outreach Butler
Marcellus Protest
Occupy Well Street
Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Water
Peters Township Marcellus Shale Awareness Group
Physicians for Social Responsibility Philadelphia
Pocono Environmental Coalition and Wildlife Society, Inc.
Protecting Our Waters
Safe Water Society
Thomas Merton Center
Tour de Frack
Yardley-Makefield Democratic Club
Delaware Riverkeeper Network

— Pennsylvanians Against Fracking, a new statewide coalition that wants to ban fracking throughout the commonwealth, will mark the election of Tom Wolf with a rally on the capitol steps in Harrisburg on Tuesday, Nov. 18.

A press release announcing the Clean Up Pennsylvania Rally states: "Filthy energy makes for filthy government. Join Pennsylvanians Against Fracking to rid Harrisburg of the gas industry’s dirty political influence."

If you go

Pennsylvanians Against Fracking is helping to coordinate transportation from various points in the state to the Harrisburg rally:
Lehigh Valley: Email Tara at tzrinski@fwwlocal.org to join the Lehigh Valley carpool!
Northwest Pennsylvania: Email Sam Miller at bearwalker33@roadrunner.com to get plugged into a carpool from the Erie County area.
Southwest Pennsylvania: Email mpro113@gmail.com to learn about carpools from Southwestern PA
State College: Email Melody at hickoryhaven@hotmail.com for the State College carpool.
To coordinate a carpool from your community email sbernhardt@fwwatch.org.

The release notes Wolf's recent win, adding: "As Governor, Wolf will have the power to halt fracking. However, we know it is going to take a lot of pressure to win a statewide moratorium. That pressure starts Nov. 18 in Harrisburg. We’ll use a big box of cleaning supply to show the next Governor how to clean up our state. Please also bring your own cleaning tools — brooms, mops, sponges — get creative! We’ll also bring some homemade solar panels to shine sunlight — the best disinfectant — on the Capitol."

The coalition includes 28 organizations around Pennsylvania (please see sidebar for list).

Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper, recently told National Public Radio that Wolf's support for maintaining the moratorium on drilling in the Delaware River watershed is "good news for the river." But she expressed qualms about his support for using shale gas production to raise funds for other budget-line items. "And by using that money for education, health, the elderly, you create new constituencies calling for more shale gas development," she told the station. "But for all those constituencies shale gas development is a negative.”

A difference on taxes
Wolf has also called for a severance tax on natural gas and oil production. A severance tax is usually levied in cases where non-renewable resources are extracted from privately owned land. The 5 percent tax he has suggested during the campaign would be used to fund infrastructure, education, and economic development.

The state already imposes a flat impact fee for each new gas and oil well.

Dale Teeple, a Wayne County farmer and blogger at NaturalGasNow.org, called the severance tax “a path to destruction,” and praised the impact fees already in place.

“Tom Wolf’s pledge to add a severance tax on energy producers is irresponsible and does not take into account the downside for most Pennsylvanians and the communities where they live,” he wrote in his Nov. 2 blog, which called the tax “job crushing.”

“Wolf, the Democrat candidate for governor, claims his gas tax would generate $1 billion per year if production levels remained the same, but he has no analysis to back his theory,” Teeple wrote. “Currently, Pennsylvania — which is one of the highest-taxed and challenging business-climate states — is the only state that imposes an impact tax of 3.1 percent (based on actual sales into the pipeline delivery system) on the industry."

He said the impact tax has generated more than $630 million over the past three years, "overwhelmingly benefiting local communities across the commonwealth rather than sending tax revenues to Harrisburg’s General Fund for redistribution.”

Related story: "Impact fees may be in peril in Pike County": http://bit.ly/10WLSvM.


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