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Seeking a shale tax in Pennsylvania

STATE COLLEGE — As a statewide citizens’ group called for tighter environmental regulations to be imposed on drilling in the Marcellus Shale, a local protest demanded a gas severance tax to mitigate the imposition of higher income and real estate taxes.

Formed in response to the report generated by Gov. Tom Corbett’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, the Citizens Marcellus Shale Commission, led by former state Reps. Carole Rubley, a Republican, and Dan Surra, a Democrat, released its own 87-page document Monday. The report calls for a slowdown on drilling until an analysis is completed on its impacts on water and air quality, land use, habitat and human health.

“The governor’s commission was very heavy with industry appointees,” Surra said. “Although they did some good work, this group of nonprofits got together and said, hey, there’s a couple of chapters that still need to be written.”

In compiling its report, the commission held five hearings across the state and heard testimony from experts and residents in the Marcellus Shale fairway. Its 18 members represented groups including the Sierra Club, the League of Women Voters, the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania and Western Clinton County Sportsmen’s Association. Two university professors and three private business owners also served on the panel.

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