Natural Gas Impact Tax Generates $200 Million for Communities, Environmental Programs

Pennsylvania’s tax on natural gas development has generated nearly $2 billion in just nine years, new PUC data reveals. The fee generated $200 million in 2019, which supports community and environmental initiatives across the Commonwealth.

Impact fee revenue, which directly benefits all 67 counties, is an important annual revenue source for local governments, particularly so, this year, for those facing pandemic related shortfalls.

“These impact fees are also just another way that the Marcellus Shale industry is having a positive impact on our state, even during these tough times,” said Pa. State Rep. Frank Burns (D, Cambria County).

The top receiving counties are Washington, which will receive a combined $18 million between the county and its municipalities, Susquehanna ($15.7 million), Bradford ($13.3 million), Greene ($12.7 million), Lycoming ($8.6 million), and Tioga ($7.5 million).

In addition to the added revenue to county and local government budgets, more than $70 million will be directed to the Marcellus Legacy Fund, which is a statewide program that grants funding to townships for infrastructure upgrades and environmental initiatives such as watershed restoration and flood mitigation. Another $18 million will be distributed to state agencies.

“This is certainly welcome news for our communities and our counties, especially in light of the economic challenges we’ve been facing due to the current pandemic,” State Rep. Pam Snyder (D, Greene County) said. “These funds will go a long way to support several valuable highway, water and sewer projects throughout our district.”

In Derry Township, Westmoreland County, supervisor Dave Slifka said they intend to build a retention pond, conduct road work and set revenue aside to fill anticipated budget gaps. In the past, Westmoreland County has used revenue to enhance their Conservation District and fund the Westmoreland Cleanways and Land Trust programs.

In northern Pa., McKean County will receive more than $350,000 in impact fee revenue plus an additional $34,000 in Marcellus Legacy Fund disbursements. Since 2012, McKean County has received more than $3 million in Act 13 funds.

What’s unique about Pennsylvania’s natural gas tax is that monies are distributed to regions regardless of drilling activity. Philadelphia County, for example, will be receiving $1 million in impact fee funds even though they have no natural gas development.

“As policymakers weigh additional taxes and regulatory actions that could impact the Commonwealth’s ability to attract and sustain jobs, the impact tax structure should be recognized as a policy that ensures all Pennsylvanians share in the benefits of responsible shale development,” MSC President Dave Spigelmyer said in a statement.

Here’s a per-county breakdown of natural gas tax revenue distributions. For more interactive data, visit the Public Utility Commission’s website.

CountyTotal $ (County + Municipal)
Adams$                                               86,847.78
Allegheny$                                           2,568,117.01
Armstrong$                                           1,347,765.29
Beaver$                                           1,513,870.38
Bedford$                                               40,695.82
Berks$                                              354,916.01
Blair$                                              165,026.75
Bradford$                                         13,353,356.87
Bucks$                                              530,656.67
Butler$                                           5,626,771.55
Cambria$                                              111,276.60
Cameron$                                              671,318.13
Carbon$                                               54,254.62
Centre$                                              394,001.63
Chester$                                              440,989.17
Clarion$                                              207,160.43
Clearfield$                                           1,010,890.43
Clinton$                                              853,398.68
Columbia$                                               55,292.80
Crawford$                                               71,855.47
Cumberland$                                              212,385.15
Dauphin$                                              234,072.81
Delaware$                                              477,063.47
Elk$                                           1,790,035.90
Erie$                                              229,818.74
Fayette$                                           2,705,718.86
Forest$                                               96,812.90
Franklin$                                              130,794.14
Fulton$                                               25,000.00
Greene$                                         12,764,833.94
Huntingdon$                                               48,413.25
Indiana$                                              307,337.46
Jefferson$                                              385,670.91
Juniata$                                               25,000.00
Lackawanna$                                              178,063.68
Lancaster$                                              459,160.21
Lawrence$                                              678,084.03
Lebanon$                                              119,372.51
Lehigh$                                              310,946.00
Luzerne$                                              268,325.87
Lycoming$                                           8,651,559.86
McKean$                                           1,029,731.51
Mercer$                                              596,188.69
Mifflin$                                               39,045.22
Monroe$                                              143,188.05
Montgomery$                                              699,948.65
Montour$                                               25,000.00
Northampton$                                              257,480.35
Northumberland$                                               76,940.76
Perry$                                               38,975.10
Philadelphia$                                           1,338,172.71
Pike$                                               47,248.41
Potter$                                              907,275.07
Schuykill$                                              120,008.60
Snyder$                                               34,245.45
Somerset$                                              226,613.12
Sullivan$                                           1,399,708.44
Susquehanna$                                         15,724,207.25
Tioga$                                           7,574,812.69
Union$                                               37,831.34
Venango$                                               53,564.54
Warren$                                               33,365.24
Washington$                                         18,077,140.71
Wayne$                                               43,314.49
Westmoreland$                                           2,696,781.86
Wyoming$                                           3,000,115.37
York$                                              378,670.73
Total$                                       114,156,506.13

Recent blog posts