For Immediate Release
HARRISBURG – The Marcellus Shale Impact Fee has generated more than $198,000,000 in revenue for 2012, according to Senator Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson). Over the past 8 months, more than $400 million in revenue has been generated by the impact fee.
The fee revenue for 2012 was due to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) by April 1st, 2013. Under the Marcellus Shale Impact Fee, Act 13 of 2012, the PUC is responsible for the collection and distribution of impact fees.
“I am pleased to see the positive effect that the Marcellus Shale Impact Fee revenue funds are having across our state,” Scarnati said. “This reasonable impact fee on the industry provides the necessary funding to protect Pennsylvania’s natural resources, particularly during a time when we continue needing to find ways to stretch our tax dollars.”
Senator Scarnati was a chief architect of the Marcellus Shale Impact Fee legislation, which was enacted last year after considerable discussion among state government, local government, citizens, representatives of environmental groups and representatives of the industry. The law protects the environment by providing for environmental safeguards, while also imposing a reasonable annual impact fee on each well.
“The passage of Act 13 last year was a major achievement for Pennsylvania residents,” Scarnati said. “The Marcellus Shale Impact Fee legislation is the result of great collaboration between Governor Corbett, members of the House of Representatives and my colleagues in the Senate.”
Scarnati stated that the natural gas industry is a tremendous economic driver for the Commonwealth and has proven that they are here to stay – responsible for over 125,000 jobs in PA directly related to the industry, huge economic benefits and the potential for energy independence.
“The provisions laid forth in Act 13 are ensuring that our environment is protected, counties and municipalities receive the funding they need and also place an increased level of transparency on natural gas drilling,” Scarnati said. “The feedback and response we have received from individuals regarding Act 13 is extremely positive, yet I am amazed that there are local officials in Derry Township Westmoreland County, for example, who are actually complaining about receiving millions of dollars for local projects.”
Scarnati also stated that the zoning provisions laid forth in Act 13 are currently being reviewed by the Supreme Court. “The shale industry has brought tens of thousands of family-sustaining jobs and economic growth to Pennsylvania, hopefully including a soon-to-be $2 billion ethane cracker plant. It is important that we continue to see this significant economic growth within our state. It is my hope that the Supreme Court will recognize the importance of providing the industry with increased stability through validating the zoning provisions in Act 13.”
Background on Act 13 Revenue Distribution
The impact fee legislation requires that approximately $25.5 million of the annual revenue go to state agencies to offset the statewide impact of drilling. These agencies include the State Conservation Commission, County Conservation Districts, PA Fish & Boat Commission, PA Emergency Management Agency, Office of State Fire Commissioners, PA Department of Transportation, Natural Gas Energy Development, Housing Affordability & Rehab Enforcement Fund, PUC and DEP.
The residual revenue will be distributed with 60 percent of the remaining funds being sent to counties and municipalities where drilling takes place. Counties and municipalities may utilize the funds in several ways, including for roadways, public safety, environmental programs, agriculture preservation and career and technical job training.
The remaining 40 percent is placed into the Marcellus Legacy Fund which serves as funding for statewide initiatives with local impacts. The Marcellus Legacy Fund includes the Commonwealth Financing Authority, Environmental Stewardship Fund, Highway Bridge Improvement Fund, PennVEST and H2O Program and the Department of Community & Economic Development.
The PUC is required to distribute the collected impact fee revenue for 2012 to counties and municipalities by July 1, 2013. More information regarding the Act 13 revenue collections can be found on the new PUC interactive website: https://www.act13-reporting.puc.pa.gov/Modules/PublicReporting/Overview.aspx.