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Natural Gas Drilling Commission Reaches Halfway Point

File photo of Governor Tom Corbett addressing the State Association of Township Supervisors in Hershey. (Credit: Tony Romeo)

File photo of Governor Tom Corbett addressing the State Association of Township Supervisors in Hershey. (Credit: Tony Romeo)

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — The commission empanelled by Governor Corbett to make recommendations about natural gas drilling operations in Pennsylvania has reached the halfway point of its work.

After the latest meeting of the Marcellus Shale Commission Friday afternoon, the panel’s chairman, Lt. Governor Jim Cawley, sought to dispel notions that the commission is tilted in favor of the gas drilling industry.

“Whether they’re comfortable with it or not, if this commission determines that there are unmet impacts that need additional resources, that’s what we’re going to recommend to the governor,” Cawley said.

Cawley’s remark was in response to a question about imposing impact fees on natural gas drillers. The top Republican in the GOP-controlled state Senate, Joe Scarnati, has introduced a bill to establish them. Governor Corbett has said he opposes taxing the industry but would consider impact fees, though he wants to hear the recommendation of his panel due in late July. Cawley, meanwhile, says that halfway through the process, one thing that’s surprised him is the size and scope of the Marcellus Shale issues.

Reported by Tony Romeo, KYW Newsradio