My colleague Joel Epstein and I have an op-ed published in today's Harrisburg Patriot-News suggesting a way to transform Pennsylvania's natural gas impact fee into an impact fee with real impact.
We're not suggesting that Pennsylvania shouldn't enact a severance tax on natural gas production. I believe there's ample justification - and need - to enact such a tax. And there's no substitute for much stronger regulations on shale gas development and protecting public lands from it. But we are suggesting that the current impact fee could be transformed into a powerful incentive for the natgas industry to deploy the best available technologies and practices - every well, every time - to protect public health and the environment.
This kind of innovative idea could provide Pennsylvania with a new tool to help avoid repeating the mistakes of its resource extraction history.