Legislation Watch: Pennsylvania's Impact Fee - November 17 Update

This post was written by Jennifer Smokelin and Nicolle Bagnell.

The Pennsylvania Senate approved an impact fee as well as other regulatory measures with regard to drilling in the Marcellus shale by a vote of 29-20. The Senate bill is the first comprehensive legislation on natural gas drilling to be approved in the Senate since the Marcellus Shale boom began. The measure would assess a decreasing fee of $50,000 per well annually, strengthen environmental regulations, and allow for the attorney general's office to review local zoning rules related to natural gas extraction. Measures proposed earlier this week were unsuccessful including measures to rearrange how that fee is assessed and its revenues distributed, increase bonding requirements, and prevent state involvement in local drilling rules. The Senate bill was widely and lengthily debated.

The focus now shifts to the other chamber as the Senate bill heads to the state House of Representatives. The House is also separately engaged in a debate over its own a drilling oversight measures this week and is expected to vote on their measure by week's end. House lawmakers approved an amendment on a vote of 110-85 that incorporates the zoning standardization approach contained in the Senate bill. Read more about the legislation here.

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