Toxic Textbooks: Governor Wolf Attempts To Fund Education With A Frack Tax

The Tax `n Frack era is upon us.

On Wednesday, February 11, 2015, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced to a classroom full of Thorndale elementary students that he plans to tax shale gas drillers to pay for things like textbooks, and the laminated weather map hanging ironically on the wall behind him.

Tying education funding to a single, cyclical, heavy industry, and one with a wildly variable price at that, is bad business for the state. Wolf should know that no tax will ever begin to cover their true tab, or replace what they are presently destroying.

While he’s at it, Wolf might ask gas drillers to print up some new textbooks, too. Otherwise, Pennsylvania school children might learn about the legacy of toxic pollution that they and our legislators are leaving behind.

Remember Talisman Terry, the friendly Fracosaurus? He was featured in a propa-ganza enriched coloring book published for Pennsylvania school children, and hilariously immortalized by Stephen Colbert in 2011.

Leo-blog--Talisman-Terry--006

Pennsylvanians Against Fracking and Delaware Riverkeeper have issued a joint press release, clearly stating that the severance tax is “an unsustainable quick fix.”

The statement is also posted on Berks Gas Truth, and below.

If Tom Wolf’s severance tax is approved, the negative impacts of hydraulic fracking become institutionalized, and thereby legitimized. But there’s nothing legitimate, or even logical, about polluting the air, land and water supplies. Future generations will have no one to blame but us.

Alex Lotorto, an anti-fracking leader in Northeastern Pennsylvania who is known for an honest hardline on the need for a statewide ban on fracking, commented on the StateImpactPA post:

“Just a reminder, when Rendell promised us that casinos would secure education funding in Pennsylvania, all we got were more casinos and table games. Wolf is promising a fracking tax will secure education funding, which means more fracking. Today’s announcement is nothing to celebrate if you live above one of the shale formations Wolf wants to tap in the name of the children.”

Fracking is a bigger gamble than gambling. Pennsylvanians deserve more, future generations deserve better.

~

For Immediate Release

For more information: Karen Feridun, Berks Gas Truth, 610-678-7726

Tracy Carluccio, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, 215-369-1188 x 104

       Pennsylvanians Against Fracking Says Wolf Severance Tax Plan Is Bad for Education, Bad for PA

Harrisburg, Pa: Pennsylvanians Against Fracking calls Governor Tom Wolf’s plan for a severance tax bad for education and bad for Pennsylvania. The severance tax Wolf is promoting on his “Schools that Teach” tour is an unsustainable quick fix that ties education to a boom-bust industry and institutionalizes drilling in a state it has already profoundly harmed.

“Let’s be clear. The last thing Pennsylvania needs is a severance tax on fracking. A severance tax will just encourage more fracking at a time when we should be stopping it altogether. The money the impact fee has generated has not come close to addressing all of the issues in already- impacted communities. More drilling means more impacts Pennsylvania’s communities can ill- afford,” said Karen Feridun, Founder of Berks Gas Truth, a steering committee member of Pennsylvanians Against Fracking.

Wolf’s plan is a reiteration of the one promoted by former Governor Rendell. Several things have changed, however, in the intervening years. More than 425 peer-reviewed studies now link fracking to water contamination, air pollution, illnesses, and climate change. A performance audit of the Department of Environmental Protection conducted by Pennyslvania’s Auditor General has shown that the agency was not equipped to provide whatever protections it could to Pennsylvanians. The Department of Health was similarly ill-equipped and actually discouraged its staffers from engaging with people reporting fracking-related health complaints.

Worst of all, impacts occurring in real time in communities across the state provide all the evidence we need that fracking isn’t worth it.

“The fact that DEP has verified 243 cases of contamination of private water wells by oil and gas operations should be enough evidence to convince the Governor and his environmental agency to stop the bleeding. It’s simply wrong to sacrifice communities and families suffering these impacts so the state can balance its budget,” said Tracy Carluccio of Delaware Riverkeeper Network, a Pennsylvanians Against Fracking steering committee member.

“The Governor continues to ignore the science on fracking. He appears to be ignoring market conditions now too. The current slowdown in production may signal that the boom is going bust, something that calls into question Wolf’s claims that he can raise enough revenue for even a quick fix for education,” says Feridun.

Pennsylvanians Against Fracking is a statewide coalition of organizations, institutions, and businesses calling for a halt to fracking in the Commonwealth.Learn more about Pennsylvanians Against Fracking at paagainstfracking.org. ###

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