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Pennsylvania: Governor Tom Corbett’s Election Defeat Could Affect Oil and Gas Industry

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Governor Tom Corbett’s defeat to Democrat opponent Tom Wolf, a businessman from York County, has implications for oil and gas operations in the Marcellus Shale. Wolf’s campaign proposed a 5 percent severance tax on natural gas extraction with proceeds dedicated to public education in lieu of the existing $50,000 impact fee per well, which is used to support local communities affected by drilling activities. Wolf also promised to prohibit drilling in state parks and forests, reversing Corbett’s actions to lift a moratorium and lease new state land in an effort to raise revenue.  Additionally, Wolf will hold a seat on the Delaware River Basin Commission, which maintains a moratorium on drilling in the Delaware River Basin. Previously, Governor Corbett joined with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie calling for an end to the de facto moratorium. It is expected that Wolf’s administration will provide the majority on the commission and ensure the moratorium will remain in place.