LETTER: Yes, Wolf's Restore Pennsylvania plan is too good to be true
Gov. Tom Wolf says the biggest political challenge his Restore Pennsylvania plan, or severance tax proposal version 5.0, faces is “overcoming the perception that it’s too good to be true.” Unfortunately, it is an accurate perception.
In recent weeks, Wolf has visited towns hit hard by floods to sell the plan based on the tax dollars that would fund disaster recovery. Apparently, the DEP served as his surrogate in Chanceford Township. His own campaign stop focused on blight, one of the many important issues Restore Pennsylvania would address.
The floods that ravaged the state were among the climate-influenced extreme weather events across the globe last year. Just as people were adjusting to what some characterized as the “new normal,” Penn State climate expert Michael Mann told an interviewer that there is no new normal, that weather extremes will just get worse if we fail to act on climate.
Gov. Wolf’s plan represents a commitment to failing to act on climate. It relies on dollars collected from a tax that would institutionalize the production of the greenhouse gases methane and ethane in Pennsylvania by funding important and popular projects.
Scientists have been telling us for years that methane is 86 times more powerful at trapping heat than carbon dioxide is and that methane leaks at an alarming rate throughout its production, transmission and distribution. New research out of Georgia Tech and Stanford found that methane’s impact may be three times worse than previously thought.
But it gets worse.
Some severance tax dollars collected would go right back to the industry via funds to build more pipelines and incentivize the ethane-based petrochemical boom in western Pennsylvania.