Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission Collects over $855 Million in Gas Drilling Impact Fees

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) earlier this summer announced the final approved distribution of $223.5 million in disbursements under Act 13 of 2012 (Act 13), which imposed an Impact Fee on natural gas producers. Over the past four years, the PUC has collected and distributed more than $855 million in impact fees.

The PUC’s Act 13 reporting website provides a detailed breakdown of the payments to county and municipal governments, along with specifics on how much money has been collected for each year, since 2011; how that money has been allocated, by category; and comparisons to previous years. The interactive website provides numerous reports regarding the collection and distribution of these funds, along with graphical data regarding the top paying producers, well count breakdowns and top receiving counties and local governments.

Visitors to the Act 13 website can search and download statistics such as money paid by producers or money disbursed to state, county or local governments. The information also breaks down the distribution calculations outlined in the law in areas such as eligible wells per county/municipality; and distributions to municipalities and counties with qualifying wells; and to municipalities that are located within a county with qualifying wells and are contiguous to a municipality with wells or within five miles of a municipality with wells (based on population and highway miles calculations).

The Impact Fee producer payments for 2014 total $223,500,000. Of those funds, $123,300,000 will be distributed to county and municipal governments who are directly affected by drilling. Also, $18 million will be distributed to state agencies that are defined by the Act. The remaining $82,200,000 will be placed into the Marcellus Legacy Fund, which was established under the law to fund environmental, highway, water and sewer projects, rehabilitation of greenways and other projects throughout the state.

Producer Impact Fee payments are due to the PUC on April 1 of each year. Distributions of the money collected by the PUC are due to county and municipal governments by July 1 of each year. County and municipal government information on how the 2013 Impact Fee monies were allocated was due to the PUC on April 15, 2015.

Under the Unconventional Gas Well Impact Fee Act, signed into law as Act 13 of 2012, the PUC is responsible for implementing the imposition, collection and distribution of an unconventional gas well fee (also called a drilling impact fee).

If you or your business have questions regarding natural gas law, energy law or real estate law, contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices, P.C.

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