By Kenneth C. Oldham
INDIANA -- The clicking of heels against a hardwood floor fills the high ceilings of the home office of state Rep. Dave Reed, R-Indiana. A narrow walkway leads past a reception area and pamphlets and into Reed's inner sanctum. Courtroom fashion dominates the room with leather chairs, a sprawling desk and U.S. and Pennsylvania flags.
Here, Reed addressed the severance tax, legislation that proposes to tax the extraction of oil and natural gas in the state, among other issues.
Corporate giants like Chevron Corp. and Exxon Corp. are paying billions to acquire stakes in the Marcellus Shale, a vast natural gas deposit under Pennsylvania and other Appalachian and Northeastern states. Pennsylvania counties such as Indiana must prepare for the natural gas industry rush already underway, developers and environmentalists agree.