Harrisburg – MarcellusMoney.org, a project of Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania (CVPA) and Common Cause PA, tracks campaign contributions from natural gas industry PACs and executives to candidates for Pennsylvania state office.
Today, MarcellusMoney.org released the gas contribution figures for gubernatorial candidates Dan Onorato and Tom Corbett from campaign finance reporting cycle 5. Cycle 5 included the 34 days between September 14 and October 18, 2010.
In cycle 5, Republican candidate Tom Corbett received at least $139,000 from the natural gas drilling industry. His cycle 5 average of $4,088.24 per day is up from $3448.45 per day in cycle 4. Corbett has received a grand total of at least $856,220 in reported contributions from the gas drilling industry in the last decade.
In cycle 5, Democratic candidate Dan Onorato received at least $5,000 from the natural gas industry. His cycle 5 average of $147.06 per day is down from $463.91 per day in cycle 4. Onorato has received a grand total of at least $124,300 in the last decade.
“In the last weeks before the election, drilling industry CEOs went all out for Tom Corbett because he thinks that ordinary Pennsylvanians should pay to clean up the messes that their drills leave behind,” Josh McNeil of Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania said. “Supporting Corbett might make sense if you’re a drilling company CEO, but not if you’re an ordinary Pennsylvanian.”
Earlier this month, the Pennsylvania Senate failed to vote on a severance tax on Marcellus Shale drillers. The legislature is unlikely to deal with Marcellus Shale drilling in any way before it’s next session. It will therefore be up to one of these two candidates to shape drilling’s impacts on Pennsylvania.
Dan Onorato supports a severance tax to pay for environmental protections and to help communities deal with the impacts of gas drilling. Tom Corbett does not.
It is estimated that the severance tax recently passed out of the House of Representatives would raise approximately $316 million in 2011-12 and as much as $570 million by 2014-15 for environmental protections, conservation programs and local communities. In the absence of a severance tax, regular taxpayers will end up paying for all of those costs.
Contributions to Tom Corbett, should he win the election, could earn drilling companies a 66,572% return on their investment in his campaign.
Note: The contribution data to Onorato and Corbett for cycles 4 and 5 is not yet available on MarcellusMoney.org. It will be posted in the next 48 hours.
Contact: Josh McNeil; 215.564.3350; joshua.mcneil@conservationpa.