PA Impact Fee Legislation Awaiting Gov. Corbett’s Signature

PA Impact Fee Legislation Awaiting Gov. Corbett’s Signature

After years of debate in the legislative process, a bill that would require an impact fee on gas extracted from shale is now waiting on the desk of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, who is expected to sign the bill although he did not specify when.

The 174-page bill, which was approved 31-19 by the PA State Senate on February 9, passed by a close vote of 101-90 in the PA House of Representatives. The bill was supported by the Count Commissioners Association and the Association of Township Supervisors.

Under the bill, the fee would fluctuate according to the price of natural gas and, beginning in 2013, on the rate of inflation. If the price of natural gas is between $3 and $5, the fee would be $310,000 per well over 15 years. That fee would be lower if the price of gas falls below $3, and would increase if the price of gas rises above $5.

The agreement would allow counties where drilling occurs to decide whether to impose a fee. If a county declines to impose a fee, half its municipalities would have the option to force it to do so.

The state would collect the fees and would distribute them among numerous agencies and programs; state media report about 40 percent going to the state, 20 percent to counties that adopt the fee and 40 percent to municipalities within those counties.

Environmental groups were displeased with the inadequacy of the fee and the lack of local control, stating that the ordinance measure was a “takeover” of local municipalities.

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