By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf made his first visit today to the Pennsylvania Convention Center, in Philadelphia, to address the Association of Energy Engineers.

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The governor reassured the group of his support for the state’s flourishing natural gas industry.

“I want this industry to work, because it could be a source of really great jobs,” Wolf told them.  “It could be a source of really great energy.”

But he also reaffirmed his commitment to an extraction tax, “because I want all Pennsylvanians to feel there’s a partnership between what happens in the gas fields and what happens in the classrooms of the schools in their neighborhoods.”

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Though natural gas company officials oppose the tax plan that Wolf unveiled last week, engineers were less hostile.

“It’s a consistent way to derive income from drilling in the state,” said Christine Batchelor, president of the local chapter of the association.  “It’s what they do in Texas, it’s what they do in Arkansas, it’s what they’re doing in the Dakotas.”

Gov. Wolf says he hopes the industry will also be drawn by another state resource.

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“We have institutions of higher education, full of fresh ideas, just like you are,” he said.