Driller fees proposed

Gov. Tom Corbett announced yesterday that he would support new regulations for the state’s booming natural gas industry, including impact fees for local municipalities.

Corbett has been heavily criticized for resisting a tax on the industry, making Pennsylvania the largest gas-producing state without a tax on drillers. The impact fees recommended by the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission could generate up to $120 million in the first year and $200 million by the sixth year, Corbett said. Municipalities where drilling is taking place would keep 75 percent, while 25 percent would be split between PennDOT, the Public Utility Commission and other state agencies.

Opponents called the measures unfair and “full of giveaways to drillers.”

“It appears that the governor’s thinking in devising his plan was, ‘What’s the least I can ask of the drilling industry?’” said Jan Jarrett, PennFuture’s president and CEO. “The proposed impact fee is too small, full of loopholes, unwieldy to administer and leaves too much money on the table.”

Philadelphia City Council passed a resolution earlier this year, sponsored by Councilman Curtis Jones Jr., opposing the development until further impact studies could be completed. Despite the fact the nearest drilling is more than 100 miles away from the city, Jones said Philadelphia should receive some of the fees.

“That doesn’t take into account that all of that stuff has to go through Pennsylvania roads, including Philadelphia. Why are we segregated out of the state?” he asked yesterday.

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