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As one of the least economically diverse states in the nation, West Virginia relies heavily on its natural resources for revenue. Funds from these resources fluctuate and, one day, will be gone. As the Marcellus “Gold Rush” comes to West Virginia, it is time for policymakers to consider establishing a permanent mineral trust fund in West Virginia, similar to what six other states have done.

How Can Energy Fund OUR Future?

On February 13, 2012 Executive Director Ted Boettner presented at the Annual Conference of the West Virginia Association of Counties on the benefits of an economic diversification fund in West Virginia. Such a fund would provide revenue for the state during times of economic slowdown which can especially hard-hitting to local and county governments and school systems.

This policy memo is a comparison of how West Virginia and Wyoming tax their mineral resources.  While there are similarities, there are also many differences. This paper continues the discussion of how states which are reliant on extractive industries can make policy decisions, like the creation of a permanent mineral trust fund, and how those decisions can impact state budgets for years to come.

Within the next decade, Pennsylvania is poised to enjoy a natural gas development boom. Long-term projections of rising natural gas prices and the advent of advanced drilling techniques have made it economically feasible to extract natural gas from the Marcellus Shale, a deep geologic formation that underlies 54 of the 67 counties of Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania has a long history of supplying the nation with natural gas that provides energy for cooking, heating, and other important uses. Only Texas has more currently active wells.

The Pennsylvania General Assembly is drafting legislation to institute a severance tax on the natural gas extracted from the Marcellus Shale formation. The state budget for Fiscal Year 2010-11 set a deadline of October 1, 2010 for enactment of a severance tax that would take effect in January 2011. No revenue from the tax was included in the final budget agreement.

People and businesses contribute to public services in the state, to police, fire protection, schools, roads, clean water, and all the things we need. We pay taxes. We pay income and sales taxes and businesses pay business taxes.

Virtually every state in the nation with mineral resources, including natural gas, oil, coal, and even sand, collects revenue from the companies that extract these finite resources. Severance taxes provide these states with an important source of funding for investments in education, colleges, transportation, and other infrastructure that help to build a strong economy.

This report explores how revenue from a fracking tax could bolster vital public services if it is not used to finance income tax cuts that would mostly benefit wealthy Ohioans, as Gov. John Kasich has proposed. The Ohio General Assembly should consider an adequate tax on oil and gas extraction to help restore local jobs, schools and services and assist communities impacted by drilling.

Clean air is essential to good health and a basic human need. EU law has recognised this need and given legal protection to it through directives and court judgments.

Putting the Law to Work in Our Communities

A Citizen’s Guide to Environmental Protection and Justice in Georgia, USA.

The development of extensive environmental regulation over the last three decades has afforded many Americans a sense of security, a  security born of the belief that environmental laws will effectively protect them from toxic chemicals and pollutants.

This is a legal paper that looks at the impact that natural gas drilling has on various towns in the USA and what can be done within an US legal context. Although written for the US many good points are included that may be used within an EU legal context. Written in 2009 it is still a very good resource.

Download the paper in the attachment section below in PDF format

The extraction of shale gas--natural gas found in deep layers of shale rock formations--is on the rise in many states. Gas drilling companies will likely drill tens of thousands of wells by 2020. The Obama administration's Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future identifies shale gas reserves as an important new energy source as the U.S. transitions from its heavy reliance on oil to a "clean energy future."

Land, water, and air are affected by the Marcellus Shale natural gas extraction process. However, the level of impact on all three vital resources can be alleviated by responsible decision-making of companies, governments, and individuals. All Pennsylvanians can be part of promoting responsible decisions through advocating for carefully written leases, enforceable state and federal regulations, and on-going monitoring.

Unconventional natural gas development has grown rapidly in the United States in recent years, driven largely by production from shale and tight sandstone formations. Although the pace of development will continue to ebb and flow with gas prices, production will almost certainly continue rising in the coming years.

New York State has been negligent in its performance of stewardship duties with regard to the consideration of hydrofracking. This failure in its service to the people of New York cannot be attributed solely to the wording of its environment conservation law.

Protecting Our Local Roads

The 2011 Revised Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement on the Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Regulatory Program (rdSGEIS) for high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) has identified a number of impacts that HVHF will have on local roads, and has proposed measures to mitigate them.

On May 31, 2013, the Illinois Senate passed SB1715, the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulation Act, by a vote of 52-3, the day after it passed the House by a vote of 108-9.

In New York and Pennsylvania, the public debate about the prospect or continuation of high volume hydraulic fracturing for shale gas has revolved around its environmental impacts, particularly its effects on water quality, while taking as a given that exploitation of this new natural gas asset will produce significant economic benefits for the states’ economies.

There are engineering, logistical and legal obstacles to insuring good management of local roads in the face of the high-intensity truck travel associated with Marcellus Shale gas drilling.

This paper provides estimates of the effects of in utero exposure to contaminated drinking water on fetal health.

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