PIOGA offers perspective on structure/allocation of Marcellus Shale impact fee

Date: May 1, 2011

PIOGA has expressed its interest in working with legislators and the governor’s office to develop the framework for a local impact fee associated with Marcellus Shale drilling.

The Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association has expressed its interest in working with legislators and the governor’s office to develop the framework for a local impact fee associated with Marcellus Shale drilling, and provided an initial reaction to State Senate Pro Tem Joseph Scarnati’s concept of establishing and allocating such a fee, announced earlier this week.

“A consistent theme in every discussion about the concept of an impact fee has been to ensure that funds raised from this fee are dedicated to address local impacts and potential concerns with the environment, a principle that PIOGA believes is important in the continuing evaluation of any potential fee,” said Louis D. D’Amico, president and executive director. “A significant proportion of these funds should be allocated directly back to the counties and municipalities where Marcellus Shale operations are taking place, allowing for decision-making based on local priorities. A similar priority-setting allocation of revenue targeted for the tangible impacts on state resources should be followed to ensure this money reimburses the Commonwealth for impacts and creates a long-term plan to protect the environment and help the people of Pennsylvania get the most from this significant economic development opportunity.”

D’Amico also encouraged people across Pennsylvania to acknowledge one important fact often overlooked in the hyperbole over natural gas development. “These companies, their vendors and their employees pay hundreds of millions of dollars in state and local taxes. To suggest otherwise is a disservice to the need for educated dialogue about this industry and its contributions to the Commonwealth,” he said.

PIOGA outlined its position regarding the allocation of an impact fee as it is developed and considered by the state legislature, and as presented by Sen. Scarnati. It includes:

  • Designating a significant portion of the impact fee for distribution to local and county governments where Marcellus Shale operations are taking place, based on the level of activity in each township and county, with priorities established for those funds determined by those officials and their constituents, according to their specific needs.
  • Documenting the tangible impacts Marcellus operations are having on state-owned land, resources and programs, and targeting a proportionate share of funds to address those impacts.  These can include establishing a system of water quality monitoring stations along streams and rivers throughout the Commonwealth, creating a designated funding source to respond to incidents at drilling locations, investing in infrastructure upgrades as identified at sewage, wastewater and drinking water treatment plants and other key facilities in need of improvement, targeting workforce development and training programs to provide Pennsylvanians with the skills needed to work in the industry and supporting local fire departments and emergency responders in areas with Marcellus activity with equipment and training.
  • Establishing a public-private partnership in the creation of a government/industry commission to review and designate funding support for additional needs as development activity continues in the Marcellus Shale regions of the Commonwealth.

“PIOGA recognizes that Senator Scarnati’s plan to develop an impact fee is the first step in a deliberative process to reach a consensus on the most equitable formula for establishing an impact fee and best use of these funds around the Commonwealth.  Our organization is committed to achieving that goal,” said D’Amico.

 

Posted at: Pioga.org

 

Joe Price
Attorney Joe Price is a seasoned Trial Lawyer serving Northeast, Central and Southeast Pennsylvania for the past forty (40) years. He has handled serious personal injury cases in courts throughout the Federal system including New Jersey and New York. Attorney Price is A.V. Rated by Martindale Hubble. He is Board Certified in Civil Practice by the National Board of Trial Advocacy since 1996.