Re: "Natural gas tax needed to be delayed," Tuesday:

Gov. Rendell's choosing not to tax natural gas companies was a bad deal for Pennsylvania's environment and our economy.

The governor says that companies are focusing on where they can drill at the lowest cost. Well, 2008 saw Pennsylvania allow the second-highest number of natural gas wells in the nation - 4,000 - behind only Texas. Pennsylvania is perfectly positioned to implement the tax.

Second, Rendell says that "additional costs simply decrease the pace at which these firms are willing to expand into Pennsylvania." Range Resources has said that it expects to double its number of operating rigs in Pennsylvania by year's end.

Last, Rendell states that a six-month delay on implementing this tax is a suitable alternative. Then why didn't the governor work to pass this proposal and make the law's start date July 1, 2010, instead of putting it off indefinitely?

The governor has a legacy of pushing strong environmental policies. Unfortunately, he needs to do a better job of protecting the public interest.

David Masur

Director, PennEnvironment

Philadelphia