Gas drillers move fast

Well, that didn't take long. The ink was barely dry on Gov. David Paterson's proposal to slap a three percent tax on gas revenues from the Marcellus and Utica shales when IOGA-NY issued a statement condemning it.

Brad Gill, IOGA of NY executive director, said the tax is poorly timed, as New York has not yet authorized horizontal drilling in the Marcellus Shale. The formation extends from the Southern Tier east to the Western Catskills.

"During this time of economic crisis, we all can appreciate the financial struggle the state now faces. But let's not drive out an industry that can help Upstate New York get through this time of hardship," Gill said. "We don't believe New York should tax an industry that has not yet begun operating in the Marcellus Shale. It's a case of putting the cart before the horse."

Though IOGA-NY may howl in protest, three percent is not going to stop drillers at the New York border. But he's got a point there about carts and horses. (Another old cliche involving the counting of chickens comes to mind, as well.) With the jury still out on where, whether and how Marcellus Shale drilling should happen in the state, should Paterson already be counting on gas money to balance the budget?

From our neighbors to the south: PA Gov. Ed Rendell wants a gas tax at the wellhead, too.