PITTSBURGH — The shale boom is more than five years old in parts of Pennsylvania and Gov. Tom Corbett thinks the natural gas development remains one of the best things that could have happened to the state.
Corbett spoke at the Hart Energy Marcellus Utica Midstream Conference Jan. 30 about what shale has meant to the state of Pennsylvania.
(For a look at some items that caught reporter Kristy Foster Seachrist’s eye at the conference, check out the reporter’s notebook.)
Today, he said, the shale boom has made the state an energy exporter.
Corbett admitted that five years ago he and the rest of the state could not have imagined what a difference the shale could make.
“It sounded too good to be true,” said Corbett. “I believe our best days are before us.”
Now Pennsylvania is an energy leader. The shale boom has created 215,000 jobs in related industries.
Corbett also touched on the plans for the Shell Cracker Plant slated for Monaca, Pa.
He said he is confident that the cracker plant will be built and, with it, the construction process will produce 10,000 jobs.
Corbett also talked about the impact of Act 13 on Pennsylvania’s citizens.
The legislation was passed in February 2012. According to the tax, the drillers pay $50,000 per well. Smaller vertical wells will be assessed $10,000. Legislators estimated the fee would generate around $180 million. The tax in 2012 generated $204 million.
The fee will be different from year to year because it will be based on natural gas prices and the Consumer Price Index.
According to the legislation, 70 percent of the money generated stays at the local level, going to counties and municipalities with wells. The remainder of the funds will go to various state agencies.
Corbett said the money is being spent in police departments, fire departments, libraries and to fund other community needs.
New industrial revolution
The governor called the shale boom the “new industrial revolution,” and said the steel mill days are being replaced with a new industry. He was quick to point out, though, that he feels today’s “industrial revolution” has taught Pennsylvania’s citizens and businesses to learn from the past.
“We are not trading wealth for health,” said Corbett. He added that the shale industry understands it is in its best interest to work with government and to follow the laws and regulations established.