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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Pro-fracking township supervisors may think twice when they assume their gas leases will make them money.

Since ruining the water, air, quality of life and health of Ligonier Valley clearly isn't enough incentive to slow down the supervisors' rush to re-zone Ligonier township, here's a thought for Messrs. Spitzer, Schreiber, Faas, Gongaware, McVicker, Thomas, et al, to consider: Instead of sleeping blissfully at night with visions of future fracking profits, perhaps you should stay up awhile and read how the gas companies have used every opportunity to screw leaseholders out of what their leases should earn them. People have actually wound up owing money to help gas companies pay for the costs of drilling. (It's in the fine print in the leases.) Unfair, inn't? I hate to rain on your wellpads, guys.

Below is a small excerpt from a retrospective article about how Governor Drillbit, aka Tom Corbett, destroyed democracy in PA while paving the way for the gas industry and, in the process, lost himself the governor's mansion. Of course the gas industry paid him handsomely to do so - this is America after all, land of the rich and well-connected - and Corbett is therefore set for life. (When you have God-fearing pillars-of-the-community like Corbett as role models, it sure makes teaching children about ethical, moral behavior tricky, doesn't it?)

"Out in Bradford and Susquehanna counties considered by many to be the heart of the Pennsylvania's shale gas production, more controversy was brewing for the Governor. Many landowners were claiming that Chesapeake Energy, the state's largest shale gas producer, was short changing and unfairly deducting operating costs from their royalty payments to those who lease their land. A sudden decline in the amounts that Chesapeake was paying in royalties came about at the same time the company found itself in difficult financial conditions struggling with billions in short and long term debt. [...]

After more than 7 years of Pennsylvania's interstate highways, bridges and overpasses being heavily used by out of state shale gas companies trucking heavy equipment, water tankers, fracking chemical trucks and natural gas storage tankers in and out of state, Gov. Corbett signed into a law a record increase in state gasoline taxes in a major Transportation Bill. (So you and I paid at the pump to repair the roads that the gas industry wrecked. How do pro-fracking people rationalize this?) Overnight Pennsylvania had the 5th highest gasoline taxes in the country. A multi-year gasoline tax bill, the Corbett Administration claimed the gasoline taxes were at the wholesale level, not raised by the Administration at the pump. Thousands were angered by Corbett raising taxes after promising not to do so. Claims it was on the wholesale level and therefore not a tax on Pennsylvanians at the pump rang hollow and at the same time out of state shale gas companies continued not to pay taxes on record amounts of natural gas being pumped and hauled out of the state." 
For those who are just realizing what deep s**t we are in here in Ligonier, the above article gives an overview of how we got into this mess statewide. Read up, folks, and get busy opposing this township zoning ordinance. IF YOU ARE NOT PART OF THE PUSH-BACK, YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE IF IT FAILS, frankly.