Pennsylvania activist hijacks natural gas rally


By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Here’s how the plan was supposed to go: Thousands of people from across the state– a cross-section of rural farmers, small business representatives and landowners – were going to march to the state Capitol on Tuesday to extol the development of the natural gas industry borne from the Marcellus Shale.

They showed up in force. But it was Gene Stilp who stole the limelight.

The good-government activist – and candidate for state representative – hijacked the march, stepping in front of the crowd with a sign that said, “Tax the frackers behind me.” Clad in an unambiguous tan suit, Stilp led the group all the way up the Capitol stairs.

It was stunningly simple yet incredibly effective. Roxbury News caught Stilp’s latest escapade on video.

The issue of severance tax has been a hot issue within the state Legislature of late. Once thought a longshot, there are signs that even some Republicans may be ready to embrace a tax on natural gas extraction.

Republican Gov. Tom Corbett has opposed a severance tax. Instead, the state charges a local impact fee that has brought in more than $600 million so far.

Andrew Staub is a reporter for PA Independent and can be reached at Follow @PAIndependent on Twitter for more.