environment

Corbett favors jobs and gas companies, Wolf worries about pollution: Analysis

Editor’s note: Billy Penn is analyzing the Pa. Governor’s Race candidates by looking at 10 pressing issues for Pennsylvania millennials. Our first pieces looked at their stances on marijuana, liquor, educationhealth care and rideshare. Up today: the environment and natural gas drilling.

Gov. Tom Corbett (R):

Corbett’s has been championing fracking under the banner, Energy = Jobs. Or as NPR reports, Corbett said in a budget speech in 2011, “Just as the oil companies decided to headquarter in one of a dozen states with oil, let’s make Pennsylvania the Texas of the natural gas boom.”

Corbett believes strongly in energy independence and domestic energy production. His plan for Pennsylvania includes maintaining production of nuclear, natural gas, and coal.

His office also announced in June the creation of a $12.5 million grant to fund renewable energy projects. As a way to sweeten the pot for energy companies, Corbett is against the “severance tax” — a tax imposed on companies that remove non-renewable resources, which would include anyone in the business of fracking. PA is the only natural-gas-producing state without a severance tax.

Also notable: Corbett kind of doesn’t believe in global warming, calling man-made climate change a “subject of debate.”

Challenger Tom Wolf (D):

Tom Wolf is totally fine with taxing gas companies. One of his highest-priority initiatives is to enact a 5 percent severance tax for natural gas extraction. In addition to the tax, Wolf wants stricter policies for drilling in the Marcellus Shale.

Wolf plans to funnel more money into the Department of Environmental Protection and force greater transparency among the gas companies. But Wolf doesn’t support the statewide moratorium on fracking adopted by the state Democratic Party. He does support a continued moratorium in the Delaware River Basin, according to the Harrisburg Patriot-News.

In addition, Wolf believes that climate change is a real thing that is actually happening. Here are a couple of Wolf’s main points in addressing the issue:

  • Expand the use of clean energy: Wolf says he plans to introduce legislation to expand the state’s alternative energy portfolio.
  • Issue Responsible Climate Change Action Plans: AKA, tell his Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection to come up with a report by October 2015.
  • Green standards for state buildings: Wolf says he wants all new state building projects to meet green energy efficiency standards, but there’s a catch — only for large buildings, or buildings that are 20,000 sq. ft. or more.
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions: Pennsylvania, shockingly enough, doesn’t currently cap greenhouse gas emissions. Now he’s like, if you like it then you shoulda put a cap on it.
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