The impact fees Pennsylvania receives from shale drilling have jumped up a whopping 21% and will be distributed to all counties across the Commonwealth.
We hear Governor Tom Wolf talk about Pennsylvania adopting a severance tax to ensure natural gas producers are paying their fair share. What he fails to say is, natural gas drillers are already paying their fair share through the existing Act 13 impact fee. Since 2012, when the impact fee was enacted, nearly $1.5 billion has been generated from natural gas development and been distributed to every county in the Commonwealth.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) published a press release in June to announcing the impact fees on natural gas producers collected for 2017 totaled $209,557,300. This is a whopping 21% higher than what was collected in 2016. It also reverses a three year decline in impact fee revenues.
The Allegheny Institute for Public Policy published an excellent article yesterday about the 2017 impact fees collected and how they will be used and distributed. Here are a few excerpts (emphasis added):
For those counties hosting an unconventional well, their allocation is determined by the number of wells they host. For example, the county with the most unconventional wells in 2017 was Washington County (1,528) and as a result collected the largest amount of money ($7.09 million) from this section of Act 13. The runner-up is Susquehanna County (1,274 wells), earning $5.91 million. As two of the top counties with wells, Washington has collected more than $38.85 million over the years while Susquehanna has collected more than $35.53 million.