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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Conservation Districts Get Impact Fee Money

State Senator Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) announced the distribution of $361,165 in Marcellus Shale impact fee revenue to county conservation districts in the 25th Senatorial District.

The revenue distributed to the 25th Senatorial District is part of the $2.5 million in Marcellus Shale impact fees designated for county conservation districts. The $2.5 million was collected statewide for calendar year 2011 and distributed to conservation districts by the Public Utility Commission in 2012-2013.

Under the impact fee legislation which was spearheaded by Senator Scarnati, the funds allocated for county conservation districts were split evenly, with $1.25 million in block grants of $18,939 for each of the 66 conservation districts across the commonwealth. The remaining $1.25 million was awarded in supplemental grants for administrative costs and well-impact costs.

According to Scarnati, eligible expenses for the use of these funds can include providing technical assistance and advice to local governments, land and drainage operations, assisting environmental advisory councils and administering natural resource programs.

“Marcellus Shale natural gas development is not only spurring job creation and economic growth in Pennsylvania communities, it is also helping to support the mission of our conservation districts,” Scarnati said. “These funds will assist our county conservation districts with promoting wise use of Pennsylvania's natural resources, as well as protecting and restoring our natural environment through conservation of soil, water and related resources.”

County Conservation districts in the 25th Senatorial District received the following portion of the distribution:

Cameron County – $34,753
Clearfield County – $44,877
Elk County – $38,516
Jefferson County – $36,007
McKean County – $38,337
Potter County – $39,860
Tioga County – $95,137
Warren County – $33,678

The revenue was distributed by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, which under the Marcellus Shale impact fee, Act 13 of 2012, collects and distributes impact fees. The Marcellus Shale impact fee was established as part of legislation signed by Governor Corbett on February 14, 2012. Act 13 was passed after months of discussion among state government, local government, citizens, representatives of environmental groups and representatives of the industry. The law protects the environment by providing for environmental safeguards, while also imposing a reasonable annual impact fee on each well.

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