I live in southwestern Pennsylvania. As an individual who has his eyes wide open seeing what most overlook, I have seen the end of the steel boom, the near end of the coal era and the loss of countless manufacturing jobs. These jobs did not just close down they moved elsewhere. Some right across the state line. I'll use the steel industry as an example since it is associated with the Pittsburgh area. The first act of the downward spiral began at the end of the Vietnam war with the mills profit being sent overseas to modernize the Japanese and other Pacific rim nations foundries. We fail to keep pace here. Next came the NAFTA and WTO treaties with these countries opening the door for the return of the same steel we funded, although it id definitely inferior to that made in the United States (I work with it, I know this as fact). In the nineties came the taxes, driving those still in the U.S. to other states such as Birmingham, Alabama and Upstate New York. And shortly after came your friend and mine, the EPA. Al Gore closed down the last coke mill because it was too expensive to modernize it to their standards. He was in Cairton, flanked by the EPA officials when it was announced.
Today, in this area there is a new job boom. Natural gas. They have been drilling hundreds of wells, if not in the thousands, for a little over two years. There are four within two miles of myself the closest being four hundred yards. Within the past six months the local media has been slamming these companies with false and half truths such as chemical contamination of the water, air pollution, well damage from fracturing (this one burns my ass the most. I have a well. Natural gas deposits are at 14,000 feet plus. The water table is around 100 to 1,000 feet. Simple mathematics will prove that fracturing can not harm the water table. I wonder, did they taste natural gas in the water before drilling began?... my apology for the rant). The politicians in Harrisburg are now considering a new tax on these drilling companies. Now here is the part where I see what most do not. There is a little country convenience store about three miles from me. It's a rural area so you can guess the population and business this does. Since these drillers have came in, business has tripled at the very least. They buy from the Subway, they buy their coffee, soda, snacks and what not. They buy lots of diesel fuel for their equipment. And this is all state taxed! Several young people have been hired to accommodate the increased business. My road is a township road, meaning no state or federal funding for it. In the past it was tarred and chipped maybe three times in the past 27 years. These companies paved it wider with asphalt, from their own pocket none the less. Also, everywhere I look in the small town of Washington I see vehicle plates from Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arkansas and Louisiana. They buy from the local businesses and stay in the local motels. Again, more taxes for the area and state. The roads they construct through the woods, local companies. The trees they cut, local companies. The fitting of the rigs and structural work, local companies. The only thing the gas company does is drill.
So, to tax or not to tax? The real question should be, How soon before the liberal EPA clamps down with new regulation?
What say you? I would like to know.
Keep the faith, light the fire and support the troops!