Two environmental groups today called on the Pennsylvania legislature to impose a severance tax on natural gas and to resist efforts by drillers to tap Marcellus Shale gas beneath state lands.

Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future (PennFuture) and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation say the tax would help balance the besieged state budget and force gas drillers to pay the public costs of extraction.

The foundation yesterday also filed a legal challenge to drilling on state lands where gas companies own the mineral rights.    - Andrew Maykuth