HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today posted detailed information about this year’s distribution of impact fees on natural gas producers – totaling $242,964,000 – on the PUC’s Act 13 website.
Additionally, another $8,866,900 is being distributed to municipalities and counties where producer payments had been withheld during a long-running court case concerning the definition of a “stripper well.” Because of the unique circumstances surrounding this issue, and the potential financial impact on municipalities where the disputed wells were located, the Commission felt it was important to thoroughly calculate the stripper well collections and allocate the corrected well distributions to the municipalities that did not receive those impact fees during the years the well status had been disputed.
Taken together, the PUC is distributing a total of $251,830,900 in impact fees, and over the past eight years the PUC has collected and distributed almost $1.7 billion to communities across Pennsylvania.
County and municipal governments directly affected by drilling will receive a total of $134,740,050 for the 2018 reporting year. Additionally, $89,826,700 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. Also, $18,397,250 will be distributed to state agencies, as specified by Act 13.
The PUC has forwarded the information to the Department of Treasury for payment and expects checks to be distributed in early July.
This year’s distribution is approximately $33.4 million higher than last year, driven primarily by an increase in the number of Pennsylvania wells paying impact fees for this year (9,560 compared to 8,518 last year). The price of natural gas has remained relatively constant over the past year and did not impact the well fee calculations.
The distributions for individual municipalities are detailed on the PUC’s Act 13 website.
Extensive details regarding the impact fee distribution are available online, including specifics on funds collected and distributed for each year since 2011. Visitors can search and download statistics such as distributions to individual municipalities or counties; allocation and usage of those funds, based on reports submitted by various municipalities; eligible wells per county/municipality; and payments by producers.
The PUC is responsible for implementing the collection and distribution of an unconventional gas well fee (also called an Impact Fee), established by the Unconventional Gas Well Impact Fee Act and signed into law as Act 13 of 2012.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities; ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; furthers economic development; and fosters new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.
You can visit the PUC’s interactive page on the impact fee that illustrates the counties and municipalities that are to receive the largest disbursement amounts, as well as the producers paying the largest impact fee.
In case you missed it, read our recent blog The Impact of the Impact Fee.