NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Shale Development A Bonus to Family Budgets

May 27, 2015

As Memorial Day kicks off the "summer driving season," families across the nation will be hitting the road. This year, thankfully, consumers are paying less at the pump while realizing energy-related savings due to responsible shale development.

Consider this: Pennsylvania is producing enough natural gas to meet more than 20 percent of America's total demand. Operators in the commonwealth are producing record amounts of natural gas right here at home, creating cost-savings for consumers, businesses and local governments. According to a Brookings Institution study, affordable natural-gas costs tied to domestic shale production have "improved the economic well-being of consumers by $74 billion per year."

Not only is shale development improving family budgets as well as the economy, but this energy revolution ― led by Pennsylvania ― is boosting energy security and improving the environment. As the Associated Press reported, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have "fallen dramatically" to the "lowest level in 20 years, and government officials say the biggest reason is . . . cheap and plentiful natural gas."

Unfortunately, some want Harrisburg to institute additional energy taxes.

Consider the wealth already generated by energy taxes in Pennsylvania:

  • Shale development has generated $2.3 billion in state and local taxes.
  • Pennsylvania's impact fee has generated $850 million in revenues over the past several years.
  • Nearly $1 billion in lease payments and royalties have been generated for Pennsylvania from shale development on taxpayer-owned land.

Given how critical this revenue is for the commonwealth, it is no wonder local leaders are speaking out against proposals that would take these tax dollars, which are currently dedicated to communities, and redirect them to Harrisburg to redistribute. According to an Independent Fiscal Office analysis, these proposed energy-tax increases would be passed on to consumers in the form of higher electricity and heating bills.

David Spigelmyer, "Don't Derail Natural Gas Boom," Philly.com, May 25, 2015.

 

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