HARRISBURG, Pa., June 13, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Tom Corbett today announced that Act 13 has generated more than $202 million through an impact fee assessed on unconventional wells drilled in 2012.
The state also collected more than $204 million last fall, bringing the total to more than $406 million in less than eight months, with the majority of the money going to local communities. Act 13 also significantly enhanced the state's environmental standards.
"This industry is here to stay, and its benefits for every Pennsylvanian are clear: clean air for all, more jobs for working families, and hundreds of millions in impact fee dollars for local communities," Corbett said. "Act 13 raised the bar for environmental compliance, and also sets aside money to deal with impacts. Local governments are taking this money and putting it to good use.
"In addition to fueling environmental reclamation and water infrastructure projects across the state, the impact fee is protecting public health and safety. The Act is supporting the vital work of the Department of Environmental Protection, County Conservation Districts, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and the Office of the State Fire Commissioner. "
Corbett signed the law in February 2012 and with it came the most significant modernization of the state's Oil and Gas Law in nearly three decades. The law included one of the most progressive fracturing fluid disclosure statutes in the nation, increased setbacks from water supplies for well drilling, and greater protections of private water supplies.
Corbett reminded local governments, which are receiving the bulk of impact fee revenues, that they can use their shares of the money on various expenses related to 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 $15.5 million in funding for this round of impact fee revenues, including the DEP, PEMA, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, the Office of the State Fire Commissioner, and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
About $103 million will go directly to local governments. According to the Public Utility Commission, 39 counties have had an unconventional well drilled in Pennsylvania.
The remaining 40 percent of the revenue – or approximately $72 million – will be used for projects in 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 $1.8 billion in corporate, sales and personal income taxes generated by the industry since 2006, including $303 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 has become a net exporter of gas for the first time in more than 100 years.
A recent DEP emissions inventory detailed that since shale gas development began in earnest, significant reductions in sulfur dioxide emissions have represented between $14 and $37 billion of annual public health benefit, based on EPA methodologies.
"The world is watching, and what they are seeing is a state leading the way on energy issues," Corbett said. "I would like to thank the General Assembly for helping us get where we are today."
For more information, visit www.pa.gov.
More information about Act 13 impact fee allocations is available at www.puc.state.pa.us.
Media contact: Eric Shirk, 717-783-1116
SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor