ISSUE: A vote is imminent on Pennsylvania House Bill 1401, the Severance Tax Bill, which proposes a natural gas tax that would raise up to $250 million a year to help close Pennsylvania’s $2.2 billion budget gap and break the budget stalemate in PA’s Assembly. Anti-environmental amendments/riders are expected when the bill is voted on.
ACTION: Call your state Representative and ask her/him to oppose anti-environmental amendments/riders to HB 1401, the Severance Tax Bill, that could result in pollution that harms children and the unborn.
BACKGROUND: Pennsylvania’s state budget crisis has resulted in a downgrading of PA’s credit rating, and numerous programs lack funds. Rep. Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks) has sponsored a bill, HB 1401, that would generate up to $250 million through a severance tax on natural gas, which is paid by the producers. Currently, PA, the No. 2 natural gas producing state, is the only one without a severance tax.
We have a deep concern that amendments offered on the House floor would make changes to the state’s permitting process, which would create more pollution. Medical research shows that living within 0.5 miles of an oil or gas production facility is correlated with cancer, respiratory illness, birth defects, and brain impacts.
Almost 311,000 children attend school within 0.5 miles of gas production.
Over 1.5 million people have homes within 0.5 miles.
In addition, over 30,000 kids each year suffer asthma attacks caused by methane and VOC’s leaking from natural gas production and transformation.