The 2013 Impact fees from the natural gas industry increased by 11 percent from 2012. This means that because of Act 13 and its fees on the natural gas industry there are now $225 million more dollars to be allocated to counties, municipalities, and state agencies. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett announced the total on Tuesday June 3, 2014 and the Public Utility Commission posted the breakdown on its website. The Marcellus Shale Coalition released a statement about the Impact fees as well.
A Quick Recap of the Impact Fee
Every well currently being drilled in the Marcellus Shale formation is subject to this fee. Determined by the PUC, the dollar amount changes from year to year but as of 2013, the fee was $45,000 or $35,000 depending on how old the well is. Smaller, vertical wells are charged with a $9,000 or $7,000 fee. 60 percent of the revenue stays local in those counties and municipalities that are home to the well sites. The other 40 percent goes to the Marcellus Legacy Fund which then spreads its cut across the state for environmental and infrastructure projects.
The $225 million in revenue from 2013 will be allocated as follows, for a more detailed description check out Penn Live’s story on the 2013 revenue.
- $123 million to county and municipal governments
- $82 million through Marcellus Shale Legacy Fund
- $17 million to state and county regulation agencies
To date the Impact Fee totals $630 million in state revenue in addition to the $2 billion in revenue the state already received in corporate and personal income tax from oil and gas companies over the last seven years.
Certain counties however, receive larger cuts of the total than others because of their heavier involvement with the natural gas industry. TheMarcellusShale.com did a story about the 2013 Impact Fee revenues and compiled this chart.
Economic Expansion in the Marcellus Shale
The revenue from these fees is another example of the kind of economic expansion the oil and gas industry has brought to Pennsylvania. A recent research study done at Duke University explains these economic affects in more detail citing the positive impacts in specific counties as examples.
- “Bradford County…has seen the largest amount of Act 13 disbursements of any Pennsylvania local government, providing roughly $15 million total from 2011 through 2012. These revenues allowed the county to pay off al its outstanding debt, which stood at $6.2 million in 2011.”
- “In Tioga County… roughly $9 million in cumulative revenue from Act 13 disbursements over 2011 and 2012 allowed the county to make capital upgrades that it would not have otherwise been able to afford, such as improving EMS facilities and renovating government buildings.”
- “Townships maintain the bulk of rural roads in Pennsylvania, and Act 13 disbursements to them are largely intended to defray maintenance costs due to Marcellus gas operations.”