Corbett Says Natural Gas Tax May Be in Future

But he has a different method in mind.

AP-TOM-CORBETT-photo-matt-rourke-940x540

After years of resisting a tax on natural gas production in the state, Gov. Tom Corbett now says a tax is an option. He does, however, have an alternative method of doing so in mind.

Rather than tax all the gas extracted in Pennsylvania, Corbett proposes to tax only the gas transported within the state, according to StateImpact Pennsylvania. Because the federal government regulates interstate pipelines, Corbett’s tax would be limited to pipelines contained entirely within the state.

“Maybe the tax instead of being at the wellhead, should be in the transmission line,” Corbett told StateImpact. “Now we can probably only tax it in the transmission line that is intrastate because if it goes into interstate, that is a Washington issue.”

StateImpact didn’t say how much extracted gas remains in state, but it’s worth pointing out that much of the gas produced in the Marcellus Shale is expected to eventually be exported for overseas use, after being transported first to a facility in Maryland. That seems to suggest that Corbett’s plan would leave much, perhaps most, of the Marcellus gas untaxed.

Corbett told StateImpact he continues to oppose an extraction tax proposed by Tom Wolf, his Democratic rival for governor. Pennsylvania is the only gas-producing state without such a “severance” tax.

Related: Philadelphia + a Pipeline (or Two) = America’s Next Energy Hub