On June 10, 2015, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) released information on their official website detailing the amount of money collected and distributed by the PUC to local governments under Act 13. The legislation establishes the payment of an impact fee for the unconventional wells operators covering the impacts of drilling.
For the 2014 year, local governments have received the amount of $223,500,000.00 – most of the top receiving local governments are located in the Northern and Southwestern parts of Pennsylvania where a majority of unconventional wells have been drilled.
In its Press Release, the PUC explains that “[o]f 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.”
This information comes at a time where the establishment of a severance tax replacing the impact fee under Act 13 has been subject to an extensive debate