Money Will Benefit Host Communities, Conservation and Public Protection
HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Tom Corbett today announced that Act 13, along with greatly enhancing environmental standards to ensure the protection of our natural resources, has generated more than $204.2 million through the new impact fee. Most of this money will be distributed directly to local communities across the state.
"The Marcellus industry continues to create jobs and prosperity for our state's working families," Corbett said. "We are excited and encouraged by this growth, but we know that every leap forward has an impact. That's why this impact fee is appropriate; millions of dollars will go directly to help the communities who need it.
"I've said it before, energy equals jobs; not just in the industry itself, but in various fields all across Pennsylvania," Corbett said. "We're ushering in a new industrial revolution, and we're doing it responsibly with our world-class environmental standards and by providing the communities who are hosting and impacted by natural gas development with the financial resources they need to address those impacts."
Corbett was joined by Lt. Gov Jim Cawley, Public Utility Commission Chairman Rob Powelson and members of the General Assembly for today's announcement.
Corbett said that counties and municipalities may use these funds on various expenses related to impacts from natural gas development, including:
- Construction, repair and maintenance of roads, bridges and other public infrastructure;
- Water, storm water and sewer system construction and repair;
- Emergency response preparedness, training, equipment, responder recruitment;
- Preservation and reclamation of surface and subsurface water supplies;
- Records management, geographic information systems and information technology;
- Projects which increase the availability of affordable housing to low-income residents;
- Delivery of social services, including domestic relations, drug and alcohol treatment, job training and counseling;
- Offsetting increased judicial system costs, including training;
- Assistance to county conservation districts for inspection, oversight and enforcement of natural gas development; and
- County or municipal planning.
Under Act 13, state agencies with responsibility and oversight of natural gas development will receive $25.5 million in funding, including the Department of Environmental Protection, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, the Office of the State Fire Commissioner, and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
In addition, 60 percent of the remaining funds will be allocated directly to counties and local municipalities that host Marcellus Shale natural gas development. All told, 35 counties and 1,485 municipalities will share in $108.7 million.
The remaining 40 percent of the revenue – or $72.5 million – will be distributed to all 67 counties and their municipalities across Pennsylvania, and set aside for competitive grants for projects such as water and sewer, local bridge improvements, local community park and recreation, Growing Greener and other municipal projects.
Today's announcement comes at a time when nearly 240,000 Pennsylvanians are employed directly and indirectly within the oil and gas industry. The $204.2 million in impact fee revenue is also in addition to the over $1.6 billion in corporate, sales and personal income taxes generated by the industry since 2006, including $420 million last year.
Additionally, the abundance of low-cost natural gas has driven electric and natural gas prices down nearly 40 percent since 2008, saving Pennsylvania businesses and consumers over $2 billion annually. After importing 75 percent of its natural gas just five years ago, Pennsylvania is now a net exporter of gas for the first time in more than 100 years.
"We have said we were going to do this right – for our citizens, our environment, and local communities." Corbett said. "I thank the members of the General Assembly who partnered with my administration in enacting this historic legislation. Today's announcement is a major milestone in this shared goal."
To see detailed distribution information, please visit www.puc.pa.gov
Eric Shirk, Governor's Office, 717-783-1116
Jennifer Kocher, Public Utility Commission, 717-787-5722
SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor