Once again our elected officials have managed to use catch phrases as a magician uses one hand to distract us so we don't see what he is doing with the other hand. They argued over a gas tax or impact fee. The sales pitch being that the impact fee would benefit the localities and towns that bear the brunt of the gas drilling activities. I listened to Senator Gene Yaw when he spoke on the topic at Laporte in the summer of 2011. He emphasized the concept that the impact fee, which he was supporting, would keep the money in the areas where it was generated. I thought, after listening to him and seeing Rendell leave office, that the rest of the state would no longer have to support Philadelphia, specifically with gas money. They fooled me!
Now the figures are out. Guess what? By tucking the "Legacy Fund" into the legislation they managed to support Philadelphia and Pittsburg behind our backs. Both got in excess of a million dollars each. In Sullivan County, where we have endured the heavy truck traffic, torn up roads and noise for 24 hour periods, the County got $ 386,849.
Lycoming, Tioga, Bradford, Susquehanna and Wyoming Counties were the top five recipients. That is as it should be. Those are the counties which have endured the traffic, the accidents and the pollutant spills resulting from the gas activity. It just doesn't make any sense that Luzerne County, which has no gas wells, gets more money, ($272.267) than Lackawanna ($190.754) or Columbia ($74.744) which have wells.
Why do the residents of the gas drilling region who are not making money from leases and/or royalty payments have to endure all the destruction of our way of life in order to send money to the metropolitan areas that cannot live within their means and constantly require the rest of the state to support them? Maybe they have better representation in Harrisburg.
Russell E. Graham
Submitted by Virtual Newsroom