Senate leaders highlight impact fee disbursements

Arguing against Gov. Wolf’s severance tax proposal and suggested fee cap, two Pennsylvania Senate leaders issued a statement yesterday in Harrisburg, while boroughs and communities voiced support for preserving the annually adjusted impact fee.

Ed Troxell, Pennsylvania Association of Boroughs director of government affairs, stressed the need for revenues received by local jurisdictions to reflect the true local impact of obtaining and distributing natural gas; while Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-25) and Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-34) released a statement.

Senators Scarnati and Corman said: “With 2014 Marcellus Shale impact fee disbursements we will again see over $223 million…collected from the industry for investment…The Marcellus Shale impact fee has done exactly what it was created to do – place a fee on the industry and direct the money back to communities that are affected by drilling.”

“Through the impact fee it is clear that we have found a way to balance the industry paying their fair share, while fostering strong economic growth,” they said. “We continue to have severe concerns about Governor Wolf’s severance tax…The shale industry has brought tens of thousands of family-sustaining jobs and economic growth to Pennsylvania… we [should] continue to see this significant economic growth within our state.”

Troxell pointed out that the governor’s proposed static fee may not consider potential changes such as increases in development, gas prices, or well drilling. "We need something that is going to be able to address the impacts,” he said, referencing the local consequences of drilling companies’ presence: increased traffic, water consumption, railway facility use, and food and clothing purchases.

The borough association believes that gas pipeline operations remain a priority for all levels of government and supports the acquisition of resources to address the expanding infrastructure.

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