2012-02-16 / Local & State

Rep. Hess Supports Marcellus Shale Impact Fee

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Several northcentral Pennsylvania House Republican members voted in favor of the conference committee report on House Bill 1950 last week, allowing for a Marcellus shale drilling impact fee. The group consist of Rep. Rick Geist (RAltoona), Rep. Dick Hess (RBedford/ Fulton/Huntingdon), Rep. Jerry Stern (R-Blair) and Rep. Mike Fleck (R-Blair, Huntingdon/Mifflin). The legislation will help local communities deal with shale drilling impacts and aid statewide infrastructure and environmental initiatives.

The bill’s estimated revenues from the shale impact fee are projected to reach $94 million in 2011 and $155 million in 2012, respectively, and revenues could be as high as $295 million in 2015. They would be distributed to local communities and these statewide groups including: Commonwealth Financing Authority, environmental stewardship fund (Growing Greener), highway bridge improvement restricted account, Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST), Hazardous Sites Cleanup Fund (HSCF).

The legislation also brings regulations up-to-date by addressing new technology in oil and gas development and provides greater protection and accountability.

Hess said one of the priorities in drafting this legislation was protecting the interests of local government, and it has support from several groups along that line.

“There was a lot of cooperation with the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors, Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs and the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, which went a long way toward reaching this compromise agreement,” said Hess. “There is no way that you can reach this goal without the interest of local communities being taken into account. The effort to help soil and water conservation in this bill is good as well. I am pleased with the end result.”

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