Population: 12.7 million
· 3,858.4 Trillion Btu total energy production
· 3,388 Thousand Barrels of crude oil (January 2012)
· 1,310,592 Million cubic feet of natural gas
· 59,899 Thousand short tons of coal
· 18,362 Thousand MWh electricity produced (January 2012)
· 3,725 Trillion Btu total energy consumption
· 233.1 Million barrels of petroleum
o 119.5 Million barrels of gasoline
· 962,961 Million cubic feet of natural gas
· 58,581 Short tons of coal
State Government Profile
Governor: Tom Corbett (R): first term; up for reelection in 2014; Governor is limited to 2 terms
Speaker of the House: Sam Smith (R)
President Pro Tem of the Senate: Joseph Scarnati (R)
Bicameral body: Both chambers under Republican control
203 House Members: 111 Republicans, 92 Democrats
50 Senate Members: 27 Republicans, 23 Democrats
The speed of development of natural gas within the Marcellus Shale has resulted in a flurry of legislative activity during the past session. State Rep. Mike Hanna introduced a bill during the session that would impose what he calls “a real and fair statewide impact fee” on natural gas drillers in the Marcellus rather than a lower fee recently signed into law by Gov. Tom Corbett. Hanna’s bill, H.B. 2413, is part of the House Democrats’ Marcellus Compact Legislative Package, which is aimed at changing the Corbett Marcellus Shale law, known as Act 13 of 2012, by providing what Hanna calls “tax fairness” to Pennsylvanians through statewide fee for drilling companies. The oil and gas strongly opposes this legislation and is geared-up to vehemently fight the legislation. Hanna’s bill imposes a higher fee that would begin when the well starts producing gas and would remain in effect for the well’s entire producing life. The legislation is viewed as an attack on the major oil producers such as Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Shell and BP.
In other areas, there was great debate over the state Senate and House passing legislation that would authorize a tax on the shale gas industry and set uniform standards for development, changes that critics said would leave many municipalities with little control over the use of their land. The bill had been the subject of bitter controversy for months, pitting a number of municipalities against the oil and gas industry and state legislators eager to increase jobs and revenue. The measure was pushed by Governor Corbett who pledged to sign it into law. Lawmakers in Pennsylvania had been trying to agree on how to harness the development of the Marcellus. With the industry booming in Pennsylvania, supporters of the bill say it is time to focus government’s approach, or risk losing out on a valuable revenue stream. Those who oppose it, mainly some municipalities and environmental groups, said the bill was a capitulation to the energy industry and would all but eliminate their ability to decide where gas development could happen. The measure would limit it in densely populated urban areas but not in suburban spaces, opposition groups have said.
Finally, fracking and other drilling issues have generated intense debates amongst environmental groups and the oil and gas business. Legislation introduced and signed by the Governor would increase penalties on violators and the required distances between drilling activities and homes, schools, streams and public water sources such as reservoirs, but not to the extent sought by Democrats. It would require inspections of well sites for erosion and sediment controls before drilling starts, and operators of natural gas facilities, such as wells, waste pits, processors and compressors, would have to submit a report quantifying any air pollution at the site. The legislation would also strengthen disclosure requirements for chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process, although state regulators could keep confidential portions of the disclosures that the companies deemed to be proprietary.