Corbett: Keep Local Zoning Restrictions In The Impact Fee
A sizable chunk of the Senate Republican caucus is expressing concern over the possibility of local zoning restrictions in a final impact fee bill, but Governor Corbett says restricting municipalities’ ability to zone drilling operations is “paramount” to Pennsylvania’s economic success.
In a letter obtained by StateImpact Pennsylvania, Corbett urges Senate leaders to keep local zoning restrictions in the final bill. He urges them to “balance the high regard we hold for local governance in Pennsylvania with the predictability and consistency that any business needs to grow and thrive, as well as the priority we place on the private property rights of our citizens.”
“Consistency” is a term the Marcellus Shale Coalition has repeatedly used, when making the argument that different zoning and regulation in different municipalities hampers drilling companies’ efforts to expand.
Corbett’s letter comes six days before the deadline Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati set for a final bill. Scarnati wants the matter settled before Corbett’s budget address. He recently said negotiations are nearing a conclusion.
In the letter, Corbett points out West Virginia and Ohio have much stronger local controls in place, and argues the impact fee – at least, the language that passed the House and Senate in December – “does not embrace total preemption.” He counts “145 oil and gas ordinances adopted or pending adoption in 115 municipalities spread across 17 counties,” and warns the varying regulations hurt Pennsylvania’s competitive edge.
As it currently stands, the impact fee bill would bar municipalities from keeping drilling rigs out of residential zones, among other restrictions. You can read a full explanation of the local restrictions here.
Here’s the letter: