Looking Back: 8 Years of Natural Gas Impact Fee Success

It’s been eight years since Pennsylvania enacted a unique tax on natural gas extraction – and local governments, communities and environmental conservation programs continue to be the clear winners.

Former Gov. Tom Corbett signed Act 13 into law in 2012, imposing an additional tax on unconventional natural gas production with counties and municipalities directly benefitting from the bulk of the annual revenues.

With projects ranging from community and economic development programs to environmental conservation efforts, nearly $2 billion has been generated in new revenue, with each of the state’s 67 counties receiving annual revenues. And that number that keeps on growing – with the tax generating on average $200 million each year.

The City of Philadelphia benefits, for example, as the recently approved Philadelphia Parks and Recreation MLK Jr. Trail Modernization Project will be funded through impact fee dollars.

With the impact tax on the books for eight years, here’s a look at eight local projects made possible by Pa.’s tax on natural gas development:

  1. Multiple bridge replacement projects in Luzerne County
    “Luzerne County’s Road and Bridge Department is preparing multiple bridge replacement projects in Butler and Sugarloaf townships… The estimated project cost of $1 million will be funded through the county’s Act 13 fund, derived from Marcellus Shale gas drilling impact fees.” (The Citizens Voice, 3/4/20)
  2. Hydetown receives funds for bridge repairs
    “Two bridges in Oil Creek Township, located on Pastorius Road and Foote Road, were both heavily impacted by the storm and required repairs, which were reimbursed through Act 13.” (The Titusville Herald, 11/21/19)
  3. Adams County awards $50,000 in recreation grants
    “Impact fees from Marcellus Shale drilling are giving Adams County recreation programs a boost. The Adams County commissioners approved two $25,000 grants at their meeting Wednesday using funds earmarked for parks and recreation projects.” (Gettysburg Times, 10/10/19)
  4. Marcellus gas fees pay for rental rehabs
    Natural gas impact fees continue to help pay part of the rental rehabilitation of apartments in the city. Nearly $42,500 in Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement funds taken from Marcellus Shale impact fees and realty transfer taxes are going to help repair two properties near Memorial Homes. (Williamsport Sun-Gazette, 9/6/18)
  5. Washington County Courthouse dome renovation
    “The county is looking at resurfacing and sealing the dome, which those visiting the interior of the courthouse see as ornate stained glass…The project, which is expected to exceed $1 million, will be paid for from Pennsylvania Act 13 funds from fracked natural gas wells.” (The Observer-Reporter, 7/18/18)
  1. Flood mitigation, abandoned mine treatment, park development and watershed protection in Westmoreland, Allegheny Counties
    “The latest round of grants from the state’s natural gas impact fee will help fund projects in Western Pennsylvania involving flood mitigation, abandoned mine treatment, park development and watershed protection… In Westmoreland and Allegheny counties, the Commonwealth Financing Authority recently approved projects totaling $2.9 million — $2.3 million for Allegheny County and $600,000 for Westmoreland County.” (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 11/20/17)
  2. Montco, Chesco receive thousands from Marcellus Shale impact fees
    “Chester and Montgomery counites may not have drilling for natural gas occurring in their confines, but both counties are profiting from the practice. Montgomery County has received $774,000 from the Marcellus Shale Legacy Fund/Greenways and Chester County will receive $485,000.” (The Mercury, 6/11/14)
  3. Elk County Avoids Tax Hike
    “The availability of Marcellus Shale gas (Act 13) funds has been a source of revenue that has been discretionally used to the taxpayers’ benefit. And thus has aided what otherwise would be budget shortfalls.” … The board also approved $50,000 in grants of its Impact Fee shares to projects ranging from equipping St. Mary’s Police with body armor to expanding local drug and alcohol treatment services. (The Bradford Era, 12/3/14)