PUC Posts Distribution Of $102.6 Million In 2012 Drilling Fees To Local Governments
The Public Utility Commission Thursday published information on the distribution of $202.4 million in Act 13 drilling fees to county and municipal governments collected in 2012, slightly more than the $202.2 million collected for 2011.
“The more than $202.4 million collected this year brings the two-year total for Impact Fees collected to more than $406.6 million,” said PUC Chairman Robert F. Powelson. “The PUC is entrusted by the Governor and the legislature with the collection and distribution of the Impact Fee monies. Again, we have met all of the deadlines in the legislation, which contains a complex and specific formula for getting this money into the hands of local communities.”
The Impact Fee producer payments for 2012 totaled $202,472,000. Of that $102,683,200 will be distributed directly to county and municipal governments who are directly affected by drilling.
Also, $28 million will be distributed to state agencies impacted by drilling. The remaining $71,788,800 will be placed into the Marcellus Legacy Fund, which was established under the law to fund environmental, highway, water and sewer projects, rehabilitation of greenways and other projects throughout the state.
“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,” Gov. Tom 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.”
Kathryn Z. Klaboer, CEO of the Marcellus Shale Coalition said, “To see how this new revenue stream, now totaling more than $406 million is being distributed to every corner of the Commonwealth is a vivid illustration and reminder of how safe, tightly regulated natural gas development is benefiting local communities, statewide programs and funding of government agencies. Our member companies are working each and every day to responsibly develop this clean-burning energy resource while also serving as good neighbors and community partners to ensure we get this historic opportunity right for all 12 million-plus Pennsylvanians.
“While the impact fee represents a new and substantial revenue stream for local and state government agencies, the natural gas industry has also generated more than $1.8 billion in tax revenues since 2006 and has invested more than $500 million in road and infrastructure improvements, while contributing hundreds of thousands of dollars for emergency response training and other community-based programing.”
The PUC has forwarded the information for payment and expects the checks to be mailed June 28.
A breakdown of the payments to county and municipal governments, specifics on how much money was collected and comparisons to 2011 data is available on the Act 13 Interactive Impact Fee webpage.
The website includes graphical data analyses including the top paying producers, well count breakdowns and top receiving counties and local governments.
Users also can search and download statistics such as money paid by producers or money disbursed to state, county or local governments.
The information also breaks down the distribution calculations outlined in the law in areas such as eligible wells per county/ municipality; and distributions to municipalities and counties with qualifying wells; and to municipalities that are located within a county with qualifying wells and are contiguous to a municipality with wells or within five miles of a municipality with wells (based on population and highway miles calculations).
Producer Impact Fee payments are due to the PUC on April 1 of each year. Distributions of the money collected by the PUC are due to county and municipal governments by July 1 each year. County and municipal government information on how the 2012 Impact Fee monies were spent is due to the PUC by April 15, 2014.
On February 14, 2012, Gov. Corbett signed into law Act 13 of 2012, the Unconventional Gas Well Impact Fee Act, which amended Title 58 (Oil and Gas) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes.
The PUC is responsible for implementing the provisions contained in Chapters 23 and 33 of the Act. Chapter 23 provides for the imposition, collection and distribution of an unconventional gas well fee (also called a drilling impact fee). Chapter 33 governs local ordinances that impose conditions, requirements or limitations on oil or gas operations.
For more information, visit the PUC’s Act 13 Interactive Drilling Fee webpage and the Act 13 Impact Fee general information webpage. The PUC compiled reports from local governments on how they used the 2011 drilling fees.
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