Governor Corbett announces plans to allow impact fees for gas wells and other changes
October 3, 2011 —
Governor Tom Corbett today announced his plans to implement
numerous recommendations of the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, including changes to enhance environmental standards, an impact fee, and a plan to help
move Pennsylvania toward energy independence.
“This natural resource will fuel our generating plants, heat our homes and power our state’s economic engine for generations to come,” Corbett said. “This growing industry will also provide new career opportunities that will give our children a reason to stay here in Pennsylvania. We are going to do this safely and we’re going to do it right, because energy equals jobs.”
As a result of the public Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission meetings, we now have a sensible and fair plan to put before the General Assembly, Corbett said. The plan will make sure that Pennsylvania’s economy benefits from developing this
new source of wealth and energy independence, while also ensuring that the environment and natural beauty of this state are protected.
As a part of this proposal, Corbett announced a series of prudent standards related to unconventional drilling, including:
• Increasing the well setback distance from private water wells from the
current 200 feet to 500 feet, and to 1,000 feet from public water systems;
• Increasing the setback distance for wells near streams, rivers, ponds and
other bodies of water from 100 feet to 300 feet;
• Increasing well bonding from $2,000 up to $10,000;
• Increasing blanket well bonds from $25,000 up to $250,000;
• Expanding an unconventional gas operator’s “presumed liability” for impairing water quality from 1,000 feet to 2,500 feet from a gas well, and extending the duration of presumed liability from 6 months after well completion to 12 months;
• Enabling DEP to take quicker action to revoke or withhold permits for operators who consistently violate rules;
• Doubling penalties for civil violations from $25,000 to $50,000; and
• Doubling daily penalties from $1,000 a day to $2,000 a day.
This plan will also allow for an impact fee, which will be adopted by counties for use by local communities experiencing the actual impacts of the drilling. The fee will be
used by local governments, counties and state agencies that respond to issues that arise as a result of Marcellus Shale gas drilling.