Municipalities, county to get $11M from impact fees

Susquehanna County and its 40 municipalities will receive over $11 million in Impact Fee revenue, generated from natural gas drilling in 2020, according to detailed information released Monday by the Pennsylvania Utility Commission (PUC). The PUC is responsible for the collection a distribution of the unconventional gas well fee that was established by the state with Act 13 of 2012.

The county will be receiving just over $4 million, the second highest total in the Pennsylvania behind Washington County, located in the southwestern part of the state, that will receive about $4.48 million.

Three municipalities in Susquehanna County – Auburn, New Milford and Springville – are among the seven top receiving municipalities for 2020.

“The Impact Fee not only funds critical projects here locally but also a wide variety of important environmental projects in communities throughout the state,” said Sen. Gene Yaw, who serves as Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee. “The natural gas industry has been a great partner in creating new jobs and opportunities in our communities, and this week’s announcement is another reminder of the importance of this industry in Pennsylvania.”

Of the $146,254,725 in impact fees collected from natural gas producers in 2020, counties and municipalities directly affected by drilling will receive about $71.5 million.

An additional $51 million will be transferred to the Marcellus Legacy Fund which provides financial support for environmental, highway, water and sewer projects, rehabilitation of greenways and other projects throughout the state, according to the PUC. Also, $23.7 million will be distributed to state agencies, as specified by Act 13.

“Pennsylvania’s natural gas tax continues to deliver important benefits for the entire Commonwealth. Generating more than $2 billion since 2012, the impact tax is a successful policy for Pennsylvanians, local governments, environmental conservation programs, emergency response efforts and much more,” Marcellus Shale Coalition president David Callahan said.

“While our industry was certainly impacted by the economic effects of the pandemic, this tax further demonstrates how all Pennsylvania communities and families share in the many benefits of responsible natural gas development,” Callahan continued.

With this year’s distribution, the PUC over the past 10 years, has collected and distributed over $2 billion to communities across Pennsylvania.

The PUC has forwarded the information to the Department of Treasury for payment and expects checks to be distributed in early July.

According to the PUC, this year’s distribution is approximately $54 million lower than last year, driven primarily by the average price of natural gas in 2020 ($2.08 per MMBtu) versus the average price in 2019 ($2.63 per MMBtu) which caused a lower impact fee payment for each well in 2020 – along with the fewest number of new wells than in any year since the passage of Act 13.

Since 2011, Susquehanna County has received nearly $52.8 million in impact fee funds, and municipalities in the county have received over $86.5 million.


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