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Bills trade off home rule for impact fee

November 22, 2011

Both houses of the Pennsylvania legislature have now passed versions of a bill regarding natural gas impact fees, regulations and zoning. Reconciling the differences and developing a compromise bill to send to Governor Corbett is the next step.

The Senate bill would levy a $50,000 per well fee in the first year that would decline to $10,000 during the 11th through 20th years. Approximately 55 percent of the revenue would go to local governments, with 45 percent allocated for statewide initiatives. Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson County, said the bill imposes an effective tax rate of three percent. The House bill would allow counties an optional fee.

Critics of the bill include executive director Susan Beecher, who said, “There’s some pretty strong language in there about restrictions on municipalities’ abilities to in any way regulate Marcellus Shale drilling activities... I don’t think we should be supporting any legislation that ties the hands of our municipal officials to regulate this industry.”

A petition is being circulated by those who oppose the bill at signon.org/sign/petition-opposing-pa?source=s.em.cr&r_by=1548617&mailing_id=1157.