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House Passes Impact Fee On 107-76 Vote

On a 107-76 vote, the state House approved a wide-ranging Marcellus Shale measure this afternoon. The bill would impose a $40,000-$10,000-per-well impact fee on drillers, and distribute the revenue to county, municipal and state government programs.
The vote is a victory for Governor Corbett, whose administration authored the bulk of HB 1950’s language. It comes about a month and a half after Corbett laid out his priorities for  Marcellus Shale legislation.
The only major departure from Corbett’s proposal was an amendment approved earlier this week jettisoning language “superseding and preempting” all local drilling regulations. The Republican leadership-backed amendment swapped that section out for language mirroring the Senate impact fee’s proposal to make the Attorney General the arbiter of which local regulations are “reasonable.”
Now that the Senate and House have each passed their own bills, what happens next? A lot of closed-door negotiations.
Among the issues House and Senate leaders need to reconcile:
-The fee applied to each well. (The House’s bill starts at $40,000, while the Senate’s begins at a $50,000-per-well rate)
-Would the fee be administered and collected on the county or state level?
-Whether the fee would last ten or twenty years, or split the difference
-How much revenue stays at the local level? The House bill directs 75 percent of fee money to county and municipal governments. They receive just 55 percent of the Senate bill’s fee.
-Would revenue collection begin in 2011 or 2012?

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