Governor Tom Corbett announced today that the Commonwealth Financing Authority approved more than $16 million in funding to support 116 trails and recreation projects throughout Pennsylvania. These projects are located in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Berks, Bucks, Butler, Cambria, Carbon, Chester, Clarion, Columbia, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Elk, Erie, Fayette, Greene, Huntingdon, Indiana, Lackawanna, Lawrence, Lehigh, Luzerne, Mercer, Mifflin, Montgomery, Monroe, Northampton, Northumberland, Philadelphia, Schuylkill, Snyder, Susquehanna, Washington, Wayne, Westmoreland, Wyoming and York counties.
What is the fund?
The funds were a part of the $28.5 million made available over the past two years to fund six Marcellus Legacy Fund programs administered by the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA).
“We established these programs to ensure a portion of the funds collected through the Marcellus Shale impact fee goes back to local communities to support environmental enhancement and conservation programs,” Corbett said. “The first round of funding will provide more than $16 million to develop, rehab and improve our public parks and recreation areas.”
The CFA also approved five additional programs under the Marcellus Legacy Fund, which includes Baseline Water Quality Data, Abandoned Mine Drainage Abatement and Treatment, Watershed Restoration and Protection, Watershed Restoration, Orphan or Abandoned Well Plugging and Flood Mitigation programs.
What is the Impact Fee?
Governor Corbett signed Act 13 into law in 2012 which authorized counties to impose an impact fee on unconventional natural gas wells. The fee has generated $406 million to date, and it is benefiting every single person living in Pennsylvania. The revenues are typically distributed to local governments where drilling is taking place, and the remaining money is used for statewide initiatives.
The programs are administered jointly by the Department of Community and Economic Development, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and the Department of Environmental Protection, under the direction of the CFA and DCNR.