More drilling sought on Pa. land

The Associated Press

HARRISBURG — Republicans in Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives are proposing a plan to expand natural gas drilling on 390,000 additional acres of state forest land.

The Republicans proposed the plan Tuesday as an alternative to Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell’s plan to impose a severance tax on natural gas production.

Drilling is a major issue in Pennsylvania since exploration companies are eager to tap the natural gas trapped in the Marcellus Shale rock formation.

Republicans say the leasing under their plan would take place over the next three years and provide $260 million per year.

Rendell expects his 5 percent tax on gas production to provide $236 million to the state budget in its first full year.

The state raised $190 million last year by leasing 74,000 acres of state forest to drilling companies.

Copyright: Times Leader