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Energy tax the wrong answer

| Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Pennsylvania's abundant natural gas resources continue to benefit our region. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission recently announced disbursements of shale impact fee tax revenues — totaling nearly $225 million for 2013 — to local counties and municipalities across the commonwealth, bringing the three-year total to over $630 million.

Westmoreland County and its municipalities, for example, received $4.1 million this year, bringing the county's total impact fee revenues to more than $12.2 million. From making important infrastructure investments to purchasing new safety equipment and helping fund strained local budgets, these revenues help our communities and improve our quality of life.

Shale development is breathing new economic life into our region while protecting and enhancing our environment through lower-cost, clean-burning natural gas. We're creating more jobs and providing the energy we need to keep our economy strong.

And a new poll shows that Pennsylvanians overwhelmingly support more jobs over new energy taxes. Unfortunately, some elected officials and those seeking office want to pass new energy taxes that could hurt job creation, stifle manufacturing and increase energy costs.

Let's continue to see through election-year politics and work together to get this generational opportunity right — now and for years to come.

Eric Cowden

Pittsburgh

The writer is the community outreach manager for the Marcellus Shale Coalition.

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