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Pennsylvania Counties Benefit From Act 13 Impact Fees

During the November 21, 2013, bi-monthly Pennsylvania Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) meeting, the dispersal of approximately $44 million from Act 13 impact fees gathered from Marcellus Shale well operators was approved for 183 projects across the Commonwealth.

Act 13 of 2012 (Impact Fee), which amends Title 58 (Oil and Gas) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, provides for the imposition of an unconventional gas well fee (or impact fee), as well as the distribution of those funds to local and state governments. Under this Act, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) manages the collection and disbursement of the fee. Counties and municipalities are authorized to impose the fee by ordinance if there are unconventional gas wells located within their borders.  In order to receive disbursements, each affected county was required to pass an ordinance imposing the impact fee.  As of June 2013, all affected counties had passed an appropriate ordinance and were eligible for disbursement of funds.  [Pennsylvania PUC, Act 13 (Impact Fee)].

Grant money that was dispersed by the CFA was taken out of the Marcellus Legacy Fund for these first round grants. The Marcellus Legacy Fund makes up 40 percent of the collected Act 13 impact fees that are left over after about $25.5 million are taken “off the top” for state agencies. The other 60 percent of the fees collected fall under the Unconventional Gas Well Fund. The grant money received during this first round of disbursement will fund projects such as abandoned mine drainage abatement and treatment; baseline water quality data monitoring programs; flood mitigation; various Pennsylvania municipal water authority projects; greenways, trails, and recreation projects; orphan or abandoned well plugging; as well as watershed restoration and protection projects. A breakdown of funding for of each project area is listed below (Pennsylvania PUC, Act 13 of 2012 – The Unconventional Gas Well Impact Fee Frequently Asked Questions).

Total Funding Available by Program

Program Name Program Abbreviation Total 2013 Funding
H20 PA – Act 13 H2O $14,860,765.00
Statewide Total $43,715,325.00

*All amounts included in this chart are taken from the Commonwealth Financing Authority Approved Projects – Act 13 Programs chart.

Local counties were included among the recipients of grant money across Pennsylvania. Of these counties, Luzerne County groups received the highest amount of funding, $4,015,198, for a total of seven proposed projects. Lackawanna County groups received $512,095 in approved grant monies that will help pay for Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority projects such as a paved trail in Carbondale. A breakdown of funding awarded to each of these counties is listed below.

Northeastern Pennsylvania Awards

County # Projects Total $ Largest Project Name Program Project Value
Carbon 2  $298,000.00 Colonel Jacob Weiss Park Improvements GTR  $250,000.00
Lackawanna 4  $439,585.00 Lackawanna River Heritage Trail – Carbondale Riverwalk GTR  $214,585.00
Lehigh 3  $169,587.00 Jordan Creek Restoration Project, Phase II WRP  $90,000.00
Luzerne 7  $4,015,198.00 Button Buck CSO Separation Project: Area 1A H2O  $2,250,000.00
Monroe 1  $20,000.00 Gregory Pond Natural Area Trail Development GTR  $20,000.00
Northampton 5  $773,355.00 Monocacy Creek Spillway Replacement and BMP Retrofit WRP  $300,000.00
Pike 0  $-
Susquehanna 2  $119,450.00 Gibson Township Community Park GTR  $62,804.00
Wayne 3  $572,410.00 Wayne County Baseline Water Quality BWQD  $250,000.00
Wyoming 1  $226,997.00 Joint Municipal Park Facilities and Playgrounds Project GTR  $226,997.00
Total 28  $6,634,582.00

*All amounts included in this chart are taken from the Commonwealth Financing Authority Approved Projects – Act 13 Programs chart.

Other recipients, like Glenburn Township, which applied for a grant for the Abington Area Joint Recreation Board and received $125,000, will apply their funds toward park renovations. According to an article on, “Half million dollars in drilling impact fees to benefit Lackawanna,” Abington Area Joint Recreation Board Chairman Bill Risse “said the board would combine its $125,00 grant with donations from youth sports leagues to improve the parking lot, softball field and walking path at Hillside Park.”

Since this is the first wave of Act 13 disbursements, it can be expected that similar improvement projects will be popping up all across the Marcellus Shale region within the next few years. These awarded impact fees will benefit hundreds of municipalities that have been waiting to restore, repair, and improve the vital parts of their communities.

To learn more about Act 13 (Impact Fee), visit the Pennsylvania PUC website,

For other resources concerning Act 13 (Impact Fee) visit the following links:

Impact fee disbursement charts by counties and municipalities:

Act 13 of 2012 FAQs:

Act 13 Programs – Commonwealth Financing Authority Approved Projects list:

Marcellus Legacy Fund:

“Half million dollars in drilling impact fees to benefit Lackawanna,”!