House GOP backs down on Pa. impact fee

    Pennsylvania House Republicans say they will not pursue a Marcellus Shale drilling impact fee or severance tax on natural gas drilling before the summer recess.

    After talk of three different amendments to attach an impact fee to a standing proposal before the House, the Republicans signaled a reversal.

    The call to stand down came after Gov. Tom Corbett again drew a line in the sand: He said again he will not talk about an impact fee until he gets the final report from his appointed Marcellus Shale Impact Commission led by Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley.

    “I’m going to be supporting the work of my lieutenant governor,” said Corbett. “I have sent the message back–if something gets to my desk, it will be vetoed.

    Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati, who has introduced a drilling impact fee bill, has said passing a budget would be tough without also passing a fee on drillers.  But his top aide acknowledges pushing a fee in the House now would be a poor use of time.

    The House Republicans say they’ll revisit the Marcellus Shale issue in the fall–after they get a report from the lieutenant governor.

    Democrats, meanwhile, say the proposed amendments only gave the illusion that Republicans were serious about passing an impact fee, given the governor’s promise of a veto.

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