Protesters want drillers to be taxed in PA

    A group of environmentalists rallied outside of Pennsylvania Governor Rendell’s office in downtown Philadelphia Wednesday. They were protesting a planned expansion of drilling for natural gas on state forest land.

    A group of environmentalists rallied outside of Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell’s office in downtown Philadelphia Wednesday. They were protesting a planned expansion of drilling for natural gas on state forest land.

    Activists banged drums and felled cardboard trees to protest drilling for gas in state forests. The governor wants to increase the number of leases in order to raise money to balance this year’s budget.

    Christine Knapp is with the environmental group Pennfuture.

    Knapp:
    We don’t want our forests used as an ATM, we know the governor believes strongly in the environment, so we’re asking him to stand up and be a hero, and not rely on our state forests to meet those budget gaps.

    But a spokesman from the Governor’s office says it wasn’t his idea, rather, it came out of negotiations with lawmakers.

    Both the activists and the Governor agree on one thing — the natural gas industry should have to pay a tax on extraction.

    Pennsylvania is the only state that does not impose a severance tax on natural gas.

    Governor Rendell hopes the legislature will embrace such a tax by the end of the current budget process.

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