Governor Corbett’s Marcellus Shale Commission Endorses an Impact Fee

The Governor’s  Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission is recommending an impact fee that directs money to local governments to deal with the effects of drilling. Lt. Governor Jim Cawley, who headed the commission, says it does not recommend what the fee should look like or how it would be distributed. He says they believe that’s a matter that best resides in the legislative process.

Cawley says their charge from Governor Corbett was to determine whether or not there were uncompensated impacts that might require an impact fee.  He says in some cases they found that there are.  He says what that fee what look like is a matter for the administration and legislature to tackle.

Cawley called the report the “end of the beginning.”  He says the document will be a recommendation to the Governor.  No work begins until he says go. A final written version of the report based on Friday’s voting was being prepared to present to the Governor.  It will be made public on July 22nd.

The panel also recommended a new look at the 1961 law regulating gas extraction, to revisit language barring “forced pooling” of Marcellus gas. Patrick Henderson, the governor’s energy executive, says other formations are subject to pooling under that law, including the Utica Shale. Forced pooling could compel a landowner to lease out mineral rights if most of their neighbors have agreed to leases.

The report of the commission comes after a series of meetings that began in late March. The commission also made a number of other recommendations regarding

Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley

Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley

emergency response and economic and workforce development related to the Marcellus Shale boom.  A number of the recommendations will require legislative action.