The legislation includes a county-option and is designed to provide revenue for environmental programs across the state. The bill also will trigger a review of zoning codes and their relation to drilling for the natural gas trapped below the earth’s crust —a process called “hydraulic fracturing” in which chemicals and water are pumped into the ground to extract bubbles of natural gas.
Described as an “impact fee bill,” this legislation will allow counties with active wells of Marcellus Shale to tax drilling companies in hopes of offsetting the cost incurred by private drilling companies in their respective counties.
Experts project that Pa. counties would enforce a range of impact fees, allowing for a sliding scale of taxes against drillers and ranging from $40,000 to $60,000. The size of the tax would depend on the damage done by drilling.