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Natural Gas Impact Fee Bill Sent to Full House

75 Percent of Fee Remains at Local Level
HARRISBURG - The House Finance Committee, chaired by Rep. Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin), today approved legislation that would enact a local option impact fee on natural gas harvested from the Marcellus Shale, Utica Shale and other non-conventional well sites.


"This legislation would enact a competitive local option impact fee that would help to protect our environment and deal with the effects of harvesting natural gas without driving good-paying jobs out of our economy," Benninghoff said.  "The majority of people in Pennsylvania want to see us take some action on this issue.  Today, we took the first step toward enacting a responsible bill that would benefit all Pennsylvanians."

 
House Bill 1950 would allow local communities to enact an impact fee on horizontal wells drilled in the Marcellus Shale.  Municipalities could enact fees on Marcellus Shale wells for up to 10 years.  They could place a fee of $40,000 on those wells the first year they are in operation.  The fee level would drop to up to $30,000 for the second year a well is in operation, up to $20,000 for year three, and up to $10,000 for years four through 10.


The money raised through the fees would be split between the local communities in which the fee is enacted and the Commonwealth, with 25 percent of the revenues going to the state and 75 percent remaining at the local level.


Of the state's share, 70 percent would be used to fund road and bridge repairs related to well impacts.  The remaining 30 percent would be split up among environmental programs, health initiatives and state emergency response activities.


Of the 75 percent of revenues that would go to the local governments, 36 percent would go to the county in which the well is located, 37 percent would go to the municipality in which the well is located, and 27 percent would be distributed to all municipalities within the host county using a formula based on miles of highway and population.


"The reality we are dealing with is that we need a plan that can get 102 votes in the House, 26 votes in the Senate and the signature of the governor," Benninghoff said.  "We passed a responsible, competitive, realistic plan out of committee."

 
The bill now heads to the full House for consideration.

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