By Rep. Steve Mentzer (R-Lititz)
The impact fee on the Marcellus Shale industry was created with the signing of Act 13 in 2012. Since 2012, the fee has generated approximately $850 million for communities across the Commonwealth. Its interesting to note, this fee has raised more money than a combined severance tax levied by four other states.
Since the law was enacted, Lancaster County, which has no natural gas wells, received Act 13 payments totaling $3,767,194.89
The equitable way our impact fee is structured ensures that every county, whether it has natural gas wells or not, shares in Pennsylvania’s natural gas deposits. In counties with natural gas wells, direct lump sum annual payments disbursed by the Public Utility Commission are used to repair and maintain roadways and infrastructure, ensure availability of affordable housing and protect drinking water supplies. Counties without natural gas wells also receive lump sum annual payments, but at a lower rate than counties with wells.
In addition, counties without drilling receive funding through the Marcellus Shale Legacy Fund. This funding may be used for planning and development or rehabilitation and repair of greenways, recreational trails, open space, natural areas, community conservation and beautification projects, community and heritage parks, and water resources management.
The current list of such projects in Lancaster County totals $1,768,608:
• New Holland Stormwater Management Project - $345,534
• Strasburg Township Act 537 Plan Reimbursement - $14,000
• Lititz Borough Watershed Restoration and Protection Program - $300,000
• Safe Harbor Trestle Bridge Rehabilitation Project - $94,000
• Enola Low Grade Trail - Surveying - $94,000
• Farnum Park Renovation - $175,000
• Data Driven BMP Implementation in the Mill Creek Watershed - $96,074
• Chiques Creek Pollutant Reduction Project, Phase 1 - $300,000
• Lititz Springs Pool Complex Revitalization - $100,000
• Manheim Loop Greenway, Memorial Park Phase 1 - $250,000
The best part about the impact fee system is that the money goes directly to the counties. Because of this, counties are completing important environmental and recreational projects that otherwise might not be paid for.