External Affairs Coordinator, Cabot Oil & Gas
[Editor Comment: The Marcellus Shale Impact Fee includes a bonus program known as the Marcellus Legacy Fund and there are too few counties using it!]
Many Pennsylvania counties, especially ones that are home to active wells, are not taking full advantage of the Marcellus Legacy Fund. The fund aims to reinvest dollars from the Impact Fee back into the communities that have been impacted by natural gas production. Unfortunately, if counties don’t apply for these grants, they are missing out on significant PA funding that could be used to improve their communities in many different ways.
The 2019 report from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) showed that $200,364,500 in funding was distributed across the commonwealth. If you break this down further, you can see that Northeast and North Central PA counties such as Luzerne and Lackawanna have received the most Legacy Funding, at approximately $9.6 million and $2.3 million, respectively. While these two counties have seized the benefits of the fund, it’s worthy to note that neither county has active wells within their borders.
On the other hand, some counties that do have active wells are not receiving any funding for new environmental initiatives. For example, Sullivan County, with nearly 100 active wells, has yet to receive anything from the Legacy Fund in the eight years that it has been in effect.
There are several other counties across Pennsylvania, some with even more wells, that are not taking advantage of this program. Unfortunately, they are missing out on the opportunity to implement environmental projects and initiatives that may not be otherwise possible to complete.
Currently, the very communities in which wells are operating are not reaping the benefits of the Marcellus Legacy Fund that was intended for them. It is important that those counties review environmental projects that need completed and apply for funding each year so that their communities can take advantage of this funding.
Various types of entities are eligible to apply and we encourage you to visit the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) website to learn more about the projects and eligibility requirements. Grants are offered yearly, so be sure to see what awards you may be eligible for next year.
For more information about the Marcellus Legacy Fund, or to apply for a project grant, visit the Act 13 website.
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