Governor Corbett Outlines Plan for New Standards, Fees on Shale Drilling
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett announced that he will present a plan to the General Assembly that will implement numerous recommendations proposed by the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission (Commission), including an impact fee on wells and more rigorous standards on hydraulic fracturing. The impact fee would subject each well to a fee of up to $40,000 in the first year, $30,000 in the second, $20,000 in the third, and $10,000 in the fourth through tenth year, adding up to a potential $160,000 per well. Seventy-five percent of the revenues collected from these fees would be distributed to the counties and municipalities in which drilling is taking place, with the vast majority of the remainder going to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for infrastructure and maintenance of roads in those same counties.
The proposed standards would increase well setback distances from wells and waterbodies, increase penalties and bond requirements, and expand gas operators' "presumed liability" for impairing water quality from 1,000 to 2,500.
Governor Corbett created the Commission by Executive Order in March in order to create a plan for developing the Marcellus Shale responsibly, and on July 22 the Commission issued its final report, which included 96 policy recommendations.