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Marcellus Shale Impact Fee Brings in More Than $204 Million for Communities

But Cecil and three other local communities will have their portions withheld until the state reviews their drilling ordinances.

Gov. Tom Corbett today announced that Act 13 has generated more than $204.2 million through the new impact fee.

Most of this money will be distributed directly to local communities across the state—except for in the case of Cecil Township, Mount Pleasant, Robinson and South Fayette.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that those communities will have their share of the local impact fee witheld until their ordinances governing drilling have been reviewed by the state and deemed in compliance with Act 13.

In all four instances, residents lobbied the Public Utilities Commission to review those ordinances. In addition, Range Resources also filed a request for South Fayette's ordinance to be reviewed.

Reached Monday afternoon, Cecil Township Manager Don Genusso said, "The board is certainly concerned."

Reached Monday, state Rep. Jesse White, who represents Cecil, South Fayette, Mount Pleasant and Robinson, said, "This is blatant extortion and it is beyond outrageous."

"There are two critical points that people need to understand. First, not one word of the Act 13 challenge dealt with the impact fee in any way," the lawmaker continued. "They are totally unconnected."

White continued: "Second, the municipalities in question have never denied a drilling permit application so any claim that their ordinances are illegal have no basis in fact or law."

White noted that the four municipalities whose ordinances are under review are also ones involved in the challenge to the zoning portions of Act 13—and the news comes just two days before oral arguments are set to be heard before the state Supreme Court regarding the state's appeal to portions of the state law that were struck down in Commonweath Court.

"Let's call this what it is: This is Range Resources and a handful of their leaseholders holding the people of this municipality hostage for their own short-sighted and selfish agenda," White said. "This money belongs to the taxpayers and it should be used for roads, police and fire departments and parks, and by using it as a tool to divide our communities, it becomes plain to see they are not the good neighbors they claim to be."

Range Resources Spokesman Matt Pitzarella could not immediately be reached for comment.

State Sen. Tim Solobay, D-Canonsburg, who also represents the area, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Corbett said that counties and municipalities may use these funds on various
expenses related to impacts from natural gas development, including:
· Construction, repair and maintenance of roads, bridges and other public
infrastructure;
· Water, storm water and sewer system construction and repair;
· Emergency response preparedness, training, equipment, responder
recruitment;
· Preservation and reclamation of surface and subsurface water supplies;
· Records management, geographic information systems and information
technology;
· Projects which increase the availability of affordable housing to low-income
residents;
· Delivery of social services, including domestic relations, drug and alcohol
treatment, job training and counseling;
· Offsetting increased judicial system costs, including training;
· Assistance to county conservation districts for inspection, oversight and
enforcement of natural gas development; and
· County or municipal planning.

Under Act 13, state agencies with responsibility and oversight of natural gas
development will receive $25.5 million in funding, including the Department of
Environmental Protection, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, the
Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, the Office of the State Fire
Commissioner, and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

In addition, 60 percent of the remaining funds will be allocated directly to counties and local municipalities that host Marcellus Shale natural gas development. All told, 35 counties and 1,485 municipalities will share in $108.7 million.

The remaining 40 percent of the revenue—or $72.5 million—will be distributed to all 67 counties and their municipalities across Pennsylvania, and set aside for competitive grants for projects such as water and sewer, local bridge improvements, local community park and recreation, Growing Greener and other municipal projects.

Today’s announcement comes at a time when nearly 240,000 Pennsylvanians are employed directly and indirectly within the oil and gas industry. The $204.2 million in impact fee revenue is also in addition to the over $1.6 billion in corporate, sales and personal income taxes generated by the industry since 2006, including $420 million last year.

To see detailed distribution information, please visit www.puc.pa.gov

Pat Henry October 16, 2012 at 01:15 AM
So the standard for an ordinance to be illegal is that a permit has to be denied? The corollary to this is if someone were to commit a crime and not get caught there would not be a crime. This type of logic is the problem with Rep. White's constant claims that the Act 13 lawsuit is not the root cause of actions like the impact fee being withheld. The Representative continues to make statements to municipalities stating that they have no obligation to change their ordinances to meet state requirements. In his world having an illegal ordinance is OK (if it bans or hinders drilling) which is why he gives the advice out that he does. As long as Rep. White continues to make blatantly false statements in this column he needs to be taken to task and become personally liable for paying back the nearly $1,000,000 that may be withheld. In my world I would lose my PE for making such an egregious error. Apparently you can give bad advice that costs your clients millions as a legislator or lawyer though. Maybe its time for his law license to be revoked.
cecil resident October 16, 2012 at 01:25 AM
Pat Henry their new chant is we haven't stopped them from drilling but would you do business with someone sueing over regulations. I have a question who authorized this law suit was it the majority of citizens in the township or a few elected officals?
Pat Henry October 16, 2012 at 01:37 AM
The only common denominators that I can see are a John Smith and Jesse White. I think its about time they open their pocketbooks and start paying back into the coffers instead of just taking from them.
Amanda Gillooly October 16, 2012 at 03:04 AM
Mr. Parks, I deleted you comment. If you'd like to rephrase please do. Again, all I ask is that you remain civil and respectful. Any questions or concerns, just gimme a call anytime on my cell. The number is 724-510-5659. Thanks everybody!
cecil resident October 16, 2012 at 03:16 AM
Couldn't agree with you more Pat Henry
Marc October 16, 2012 at 07:06 AM
In my opinion, the impact fee is being withheld as punishment due to the fact that these communities had the courage and guts to stand up and fight a “socialist style” part of Act 13 that was “written” by the gas industry and endorsed by gas-industry-loving Corbett and many state legislators. Face it, this Ordinance was payback to the gas industry for all the millions of dollars that they contributed to Corbett and some legislators. All residents concerned about their health, environment, quality of life, and property values are commending Rep. White for his stance against unfair ordinances, tactics and lies perpetrated by the gas industry and endorsed by our on-the-take governor and legislators. Everyone else, is only concerned about $$$$. If you are one of those $$$$$ people, you have sold your sole to the devil! Enjoy your money, because it will not buy you health or repair the damage to OUR water, land, and environment. You are a greedy group of people who should get a real job and earn real money instead of being eager to sacrifice OUR public welfare for a fat check from the gas industry. You should be ashamed of yourselves!
cecil resident October 16, 2012 at 02:03 PM
I worry about my health, love the enviroment, my quality of life and I own property so its value is importnat to me and I don't have a lease. Now that this issue is cleared up I still support the need for energy independence and the rights of landowners who are entitled to use what they have paid taxes on. If anyone is hurting the enviroment in Cecil Township take a good look at all the housing plans in this area that destroyed everything down to the bare earth trees 50+ years old chopped up into mulch. The oil and gas Industry is 150 years old and hasn't done half the damage that uncontrolled growth is doing to our community. Where is the outrage over this from people who preach about the enviroment being ruined you think these plans aren't all about $$$$$. Everyday in the newspaper Tribune Review,Observer-Reporter,Post gazette they are all saying the environment is cleaner since the gas industry, the rivers are cleaner, etc.The industry in this country is better controlled with regulations that should be state wide not with every community with a different set of playing rules that can change at the drop of a hat. Letting every community having a different set of rules for an industry that is state wide is like the NFL having different rules to play by in each state it would make it pretty rough and really not fair. It is not fair to the oil and gas industry having to change everything they do township by township.

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