Last week, Governor Tom Corbett signaled his support for enacting an impact fee on Marcellus Shale gas drillers. His plan would use fee revenue to pay for statewide environmental cleanup and local impacts, such as road and bridge damage, the Governor said on his new radio show. He plans to release more details as early as this week.
This is a significant development for Governor Corbett, who was initially skeptical of a drilling tax or fee. As The Philadelphia Inquirer reported last week:
He had stuck to a pledge made in last year's gubernatorial campaign to oppose any new taxes — or fees — on anyone for anything. Since taking office in January, Corbett has softened that stance, saying at first that he would consider a local impact fee on the drillers, then saying he was in talks about one with GOP legislative leaders. His Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission studied the issue and recommended an impact fee.
The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center will have an update when the new fee proposal is introduced.
On a related note, the Citizens Marcellus Shale Commission is coming to Northeastern Pennsylvania this week. The Commission will hold public hearings in Williamsport on Wednesday, September 21 and Towanda on Thursday, September 22 for hearings. The public is welcome to attend. (Click on the previous links for more information or to register to speak.)
If you live in the area, come out to tell your side of the Marcellus Shale story.