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Marcellus Fees Yield Windfall Impacts for Municipalities

This month the Corbett administration has announced that funds generated by Act 13, the natural gas extraction law, were roughly $204 million. Corbett praised the results of the fee and noted that the majority of the funds will go directly to local government for a variety of approved uses.

Under the law, about $108.8 million will go to local governments who can use the funds for land preservation, social services and infrastructure improvements that are necessary as a result of Marcellus Shale development. About $72.5 million will go to the Marcellus Legacy Fund for statewide infrastructure and environmental programs, with another $23 million distributed to state agencies dealing directly with shale development.

Under the Act, shale gas companies must pay $50,000 per horizontal well and $10,000 per vertical well. The Public Utility Commission collects and distributes the impact fee revenue.  PUC Chairman Rob Powelson said the $204.2 million represents 99.8 percent of the dollars collected. The deadline for the PUC to distribute 2011 revenue to local governments is Dec. 1.

Click here to view a county-by-county breakdown of the impact fee distribution as provided by the state Public Utility Commission.

The announcement came as the state Supreme Court was hearing arguments over a provision in the law that establishes state primacy in regulating “reasonable development” of oil and gas, and pre-empts local oil and gas zoning ordinances.

In July the Commonwealth Court found that the state could not legally override local municipal zoning ordinances. The Corbett administration appealed the lower court’s decision to the state Supreme Court, which is considering its review of that decision.