Shale fee under discussion in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. – 46th District Rep. Jesse White, D-Cecil Township, introduced legislation that would preserve the Marcellus Shale municipal impact fee if a severance tax on natural gas production is enacted.

The impact fee, which was enacted in 2012 as part of the state’s natural gas drilling law, Act 13, brought in an estimated $225.7 million in 2013. The majority of the impact fee goes to municipalities and counties most heavily impacted by drilling to mitigate road and infrastructure damage and other effects from natural gas development.

If a severance tax is enacted, the impact fee will be abolished, according to current law, White said.

White’s legislation, House Bill 2403, would repeal that section of law to ensure any severance tax enacted would not eliminate the local impact fee.

“Like with any industrial operation, local communities and residents feel the impact of natural-gas development, whether it is damage to roads or increased demands placed on emergency-service providers and other resources,” White said. “The Marcellus Shale impact fee is essential for our municipalities dealing with these impacts, and we need to be absolutely certain the impact fee remains available to help lessen those burdens when Pennsylvania finally joins every other gas-producing state by enacting a reasonable severance tax.

“I urge local municipal officials to make sure their voices are heard on this important topic.”