Drillers pay impact fees- In September, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission reported that it billed natural gas companies for $205.7 million in impact fee payments. As of September 13, companies have paid $201.7 million in fees for 4,031 horizontal and 416 vertical wells drilled before January 1, 2012.
The PUC is required to use these revenues for payments to state agencies and affected municipalities and counties by December 1, 2012. The commission has said that it is on track to do so.
To see the companies that have made payments, go to www.puc.state.pa.us and choose “Natural Gas,” then “Act 13,” and look for “Impact Fee Payments to Date.” PUC begins reviewing local ordinances- In August, the Public Utility Commission issued a letter confirming that it will begin reviewing local ordinances submitted by the oil and gas industry and others and requests for advisory opinions from municipalities to ensure compliance with Act 13.
To remain eligible for impact fees under Chapter 23 of Act 13, municipalities need to ensure that any ordinances regulating oil and gas operations must:
- not impose conditions, requirements, or limitations on the same features of oil and gas operations regulated by Chapter 32 of Act 13 or that accomplish the same purposes set forth in Chapter 32;
- not regulate oil and gas operations that are already regulated by “environmental laws,” as defined in Act 13; and
- comply with the Municipalities Planning Code.
As a reminder, in light of the recent orders by the Commonwealth Court, municipalities do not need to comply with Section 3304 of Act 13, which addresses the uniformity of local zoning ordinances, unless the Supreme Court rules otherwise.
If you have any questions about your township’s ordinances and whether they comply with the act’s requirements, please contact your solicitor.
Reprinted from PSATS News Bulletin – September 2012 issue