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Tobash Applauds Movement on Marcellus Shale Impact Fee Proposals
6/15/2011

Rep. Mike Tobash (R-Schuylkill/Berks) said today he is encouraged by recent actions on a proposed impact fee on natural gas drilling in the Commonwealth. 

On Tuesday, the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee approved an impact fee proposal offered by Sen. Joe Scarnati of northcentral Pennsylvania, and on Wednesday, Tobash stood with several House lawmakers for the introduction of a plan authored by Rep. Marguerite Quinn of Bucks County. 

Watch Tuesday's press conference at the following link: http://reptobash.com/Video/853214841/Rep._Marguerite_Quinn

“Drilling in the Marcellus Shale region is growing by leaps and bounds. The impacts are being felt. The time to assess an impact fee is now,” Tobash said. “While we still need to build consensus on the details, I am encouraged to see progress on the issue in both the House and Senate.” 

Tobash is a co-sponsor of Quinn’s legislation, called the Shale Impact Mitigation Policy for Local, Environment and Roads (SIMPLER). House Bill 1700 proposes a graduated impact fee that takes into account declines in production over time. For example, a fee of $50,000 would be assessed during a well’s first two years of operation. By years nine and 10, the fee would drop to $30,000, and a well more than 20 years old would be assessed a fee of just $10,000. 

Revenue from the fees would be distributed as follows: 50 percent to local governments, 25 percent to statewide environmental initiatives, 20 percent to roads and bridges, and 5 percent to county conservation districts. 

The Scarnati proposal was passed unanimously by the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee. His proposal invests the impact fee revenue into programs similar to those identified in Quinn’s legislation, but with a different distribution breakdown. Specifically, Senate Bill 1100 takes a portion of the revenue off the top for conservation districts ($2.5 million in the first year) and then sends 60 percent of the revenue to local governments impacted by drilling and 40 percent to statewide environmental initiatives.  

“I think we are on the right track with pursuing an impact fee that will ensure drillers are held accountable but will not suppress the development of the industry,” Tobash said. “With proper oversight, we can protect our environment, ensure the quality of our roads and bridges, and enjoy a thriving industry that creates jobs and boosts the Commonwealth’s energy independence.” 

House Bill 1700 will be referred to the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee. Senate Bill 1100 is awaiting action by the full Senate. 

State Representative Mike Tobash
125th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact:  Patricia Hippler
phippler@pahousegop.com
717.772.9846
RepTobash.com
Facebook.com/RepTobash

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