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Natural gas tax comes up for debate in Pennsylvania House

The Associated Press

HARRISBURG — Legislation to impose a tax on Marcellus Shale natural gas production is getting closer to a vote in Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives, although the long-sought tax still faces hurdles in the nation’s No. 2 gas state.

FILE - This Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015, file photo shows the Pennsylvania Capitol building in Harrisburg. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Debate over amendments lasted several hours Monday night, and was expected to continue Tuesday. A final vote may not occur before December.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and House Democrats have pressed Republican majority leaders to allow a tax vote.

The bill imposes a volume tax that rises with the price of natural gas. It would raise about $100 million in a full year for the cash-strapped state, using 2016 production and current prices.

More: Wolf starting to look like ‘two-term Tom’ as 2018 approaches

Monday’s amendments added industry-friendly provisions designed to speed up the state’s issuance of pollution-control permits, similar to provisions the Senate passed with a natural gas tax in July.