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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Marcellus Gas-- Counties Want Impact Fee

Counties Renew Push For Share Of Natural Gas ‘Impact Fee’

erickcoolidgeThere’s a “solid commitment” among many leaders in the Pennsylvania General Assembly to bring local governments a share of the revenue from natural gas production within their borders, but it’s no sure thing.

That was the message from Doug Hill, executive director of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP), during that organization’s fall conference this week in Hershey.

Hill recounted the legislature’s haggling over a proposed severance/production tax on gas produced from wells drilled in the Marcellus Shale formation. After lawmakers failed to reach an agreement, the tax was shelved. Several alternatives have been under discussion in recent weeks, Hill said.

One plan that appears to have broad support is an “impact fee” imposed on gas producers, in lieu of the severance/production tax. Legislative leaders agree that all, or most, of the revenue the fee would generate should be targeted to township and county governments where gas drilling is taking place and to environmental projects.

Hill forecasted continued debate on these issues soon after the new legislature convenes in January and Tom Corbett begins his four-year term as governor. He also thanked those boards of commissioners — Potter County’s included — who were especially active in the CCAP effort to persuade lawmakers not to seize major portions of the revenue from a severance/production tax or impact fees for the state’s general fund.

One of those commissioners, Erick Coolidge (shown) from Tioga County, made an impassioned plea from the floor of the fall conference for Governor-elect Corbett and other key figures in Harrisburg to visit those regions where Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling is impacting local communities.

“It is critically important that they see this for themselves and appreciate the impact this industry is having,” Coolidge said. “We have a resource that is under the ground in our counties that is being sold and it is benefiting others very handsomely. We simply need, and deserve, a portion of that revenue. We cannot miss this opportunity.”


Anonymous said...

The Williamsport,DEP has 2 oil and gas inspectors overseeing Potter and 13 other counties.
2 water quality inspectors for these counties.
The DEP has 203 oil and gas site inspectors statewide.
The lion's share of the revenue,if imposed, should go to additional DEP offices,the hiring of additional oil and gas site inspectors, water quality inspectors.Implementing programs to train and monitor the environment and water.
Anything left over should go toward additional testing for our areas public water authorities to step up monitoring for contaminants
related to the gas drilling.
Many of the public water authorities are required to test for some of contaminants that are related to drilling activity, every 3,6 and 9 years.
The frequency of the monitoring should be increased and our towns should not be expected to bare the burden of the cost associated with additional monitoring.


Anonymous said...

We need the fee, we have salary increases to pay.

Vicki said...

I guess it is time the COUNTIES wake up and impose their own COUNTY tax to the companies that are effecting the county the drilling is being done in.

Don't keep waiting for our paid servants of Harrisburg to get their heads out of their butts to do it for you and then take 80% or more of the tax money for their general budget spending!!!

This is how it should be handled, make the tax revenue we need be Township, Boro, and County,! Then you will have it come to your level of government and can spend it where it is needed most, NOT HARRISBURG AND PITTSBURGH... like they do with the state forest timber sale revenue and new truck tire tax for their public transportation system we help pay for and will never ever use!!!!

Anonymous said...

Please consider obtaining the schedule for contaminants, from your town's community water authority. Even if you do not rely on Public water. The frequency of testing for contaminants related to the gas exploration in our area should be addressed.The test schedules need to be revamped.
Currently DEP regulates and oversees the frequency of these tests and results.
The DEP is also the agency that issues the permits to drill above and near our aquifers.
We need our county commissioners help with addressing the public health and environmental issues related to the gas drilling in our area.Public Meetings/Board of Commissioners
Following is a schedule of public meetings to be held by the Potter County Board of Commissioners at 11 am in the F. W. Gunzburger County Office Building, 1 North Main Street, Coudersport. The meetings are held in the first room on the left, immediately inside the Main Street entrance:
-Dec. 2, 16 and 20
Laurie Barr

Anonymous said...

11:21:00 Right on!

Anonymous said...

Nice concept Vicki but the county has no authority to do that. Heck the county can't even tax the mineral rights as real estate any more since the Supreme Court shot down that tax on a technicality a few years ago. The state legislature is too bought off by the gas industry to correct that little glitch in the language so that the mineral rights can go back on the tax rolls. We need help from Harrisburg on these issues. The county's hands are tied.

Anonymous said...

Laurie, where have you been?
You write "We need our county commissioners help with addressing the public health and environmental issues related to the gas drilling in our area." The commissioners have been drawing attention to these issues for about two years now through their Task Force and it's committees and through public programs and such. I have attended several of these meetings and learned a lot. Do you understand the laws? What power do you think the county commissioners have in gas drilling? The answer by the way is none. Study the laws and maybe you will see that the pressure needs to be on the township supervisors and especially on DEP. All the commissioners can do is draw attention to these issues and try to educate the public. No sense in asking for things you can't receive and that's how I am reading your message here.

Anonymous said...

This task force was formed by the Commissioners Commissioners Doug Morley, Susan Kefover and Paul Heimel
The Natural Gas Task Force's
Mission states: Purpose of the Natural Gas Task Force is to identify key issues; research facts and examine trends; review and propose public policy regarding the economic, environmental and social impact of gas exploration of the Marcellus Shale in Potter County; and educate the public on gas exploration and related topics.
"propose public policy" and it goes on...
"environmental and social impact of gas exploration of gas exploration of the Marcellus Shale in Potter County"
If your right..."The answer by the way is none"....Why form a task force with that mission?
Laurie Barr

Anonymous said...

9:32:00 AM
"All the commissioners can do is draw attention to these issues and try to educate the public."
Educating the public should include alerting the public of the infrequency of the testing for the contaminates related to the drilling.People served by these public water sources should be able to make an educated decision to drink it or buy bottled water.

Anonymous said...

This little dialogue is getting ridiculous. It's obvious that Laurie is trying to keep itching for a spat on here with the Commissioners or the Task Force or somebody and I am finding it annoying.
The comment "the answer by the way is none" was obviously referring to power or authority to regulate.
If I was on this Task Force and subjected to these below the belt distortions as typified by Laurie's comments here I would say to hell with it. These people are asking for things that a county does not have the power to deliver and is not responsible for.
Can you not understand basic English?: the power is with the DEP and the Township.
This is getting as bad as the wind turbine BS that kept running round and round and round on here with the same things being said over and over and over.
Why would anyone want to step up for public service in Potter County when you're subjected to all of this crap? You radicals are going to drive away alot of conscientious people and you'll end up with, well, fill in the blanks!

Anonymous said...

What's below the belt? How do you see this an attack of any sort. I saw someone saying that more can and should be done and asking for help from the county. When a Marcellus well with a number of pollution violations sits directly uphill from a town's ONLY water source, I think a little more oversight is a damn good idea.

Laurie is working diligently, ON HER OWN DIME, to try and bring greater protection to YOUR drinking water and you attack her?

Grow up.

To say the county commissioners can do more is NOT an attack.

Anonymous said...

Correction, Primary water source.

Anonymous said...

To:10:53:00 AM
I wrote "We need our county commissioners help with addressing the public health and environmental issues related to the gas drilling in our area."

I am asking that people served by a public water sources , get informed,obtain and provide the schedule for testing to the commissioners.They can HELP address this issue.
The communities who are drinking water with infrequent testing CAN and some would probably WANT to appeal to the commissioners for HELP.
3, 6 and 9 year intervals for some of these tests (as required in Roulette) is not adequate.

You wrote:"These people are asking for things that a county does not have the power to deliver and is not responsible for."
They(commissioners) have an interest in helping address these issues.
That is why they formed the county task force.
I wouldn't call the county commissioners powerless or say the task force has "no power."
YOU wrote they had "none."
I consider the commissioners helpful and receptive to Marcellus shale,public health issues.
I hope they do not view the need to address this issue as a hit "below the belt".
They choose to form a task force to address these issues.
I am not the only one concerned with the public water/testing issue.
I am hoping that people from the communities that rely on public water sources, that may have inadequate test schedules become concerned and bring those concerns to the attention to our commissioners.
I have raised legitimate concerns and more can be done about them.
If you(10:53:00 AM)are finding it annoying, I am sorry.
Laurie Barr

Anonymous said...

8:34:00 AM
Well I guess if the county can not TAX the drilling industry they can come up with taxing it under a different term! Our Federal Government has done this time and time again!

If we can not TAX at the county level we sure ought to be able to come up with some form of payment they must pay to the county based on the amount of usage of something, put your thinking caps on commissioners!

Anonymous said...

Even if you don't own the gas/mineral rights, you own the land, right? Well, how about you put up toll booths on your property and charge these trucking companies really inflated toll fees to come in and out of the property? lol Just Saying!