House Impact Fee Would Overrule Local Drilling Ordinances

  • Scott Detrow

What happens next on the impact fee front? That’s up to House Republican leaders, now that the Senate has delayed a vote on its plan for two weeks.
Majority Leader Mike Turzai is backing a measure being drafted by Representative Brian Ellis, which will include provisions backed by the Corbett Administration.
Among the Corbett-approved language: a provision barring municipalities from setting their own drilling regulations. As the Post-Gazette reports, this goes much further than the Senate’s “model ordinance” provision.

That proposal, which has the backing of House Republican leaders previously quiet on the issue, also would standardize inconsistent local zoning rules throughout Pennsylvania, said House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, R-Bradford Woods.
He noted that a “statewide uniform standard” is important to the governor, who used that phrase in outlining his Marcellus Shale policy plan.

“That’s something that we’re going to have to discuss,” said Mr. Corbett in his early October policy speech. “The one thing that we definitely need is consistent uniform application of the rules across the state.”
Since then, the Corbett administration has urged lawmakers and staffers to include a provision that would completely pre-empt local zoning ordinances on oil and gas drilling. An administration spokesman declined to confirm that the administration is pushing for state control of drilling rules, but he did say the governor believes local rules are too fragmented.
Allowing state rules to supersede all local regulations on gas drilling would impact the dozens of southwestern Pennsylvania municipalities — such as Mount Pleasant in Washington County and South Fayette — that have adopted their own ordinances.
House GOP lawmakers will be determining whether they can support identical statewide rules for gas drilling as they discuss the proposal in closed-door caucus meetings this week.

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