Benninghoff, Finance Committee Hold Hearing on Marcellus Shale Impact Fee
WARREN – Chairman Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) and the House Finance Committee today held an informational meeting at the Warren Holiday Inn where local residents, county government officials and energy sector representatives discussed the potential effects of an impact fee on Marcellus Shale natural gas.

“This meeting was one in a series of similar forums we are holding to listen to residents and hear their thoughts about this issue,” Benninghoff said. “The Marcellus Shale is a significant energy source that has the potential to drastically impact our Commonwealth’s energy future. If this natural gas is harvested correctly, it has the potential to produce thousands of jobs and move us closer to energy independence. We need to determine the best way forward to promote economic growth while protecting our environment and infrastructure assets.”

Testifiers at the hearing discussed the potential benefits and downfalls of enacting an impact fee on natural gas harvested from the Marcellus Shale formation that underlies a significant portion of Pennsylvania.

Supporters of an impact fee suggested the money could be used to pay for local programs aimed at protecting the environment and repairing any damage to transportation infrastructure caused by the heavy equipment used in natural gas extraction.

Opponents cautioned that a new fee on top of all the existing taxes paid by natural gas companies could make Pennsylvania less competitive in the market, potentially reducing the positive economic growth and job creation that will result as more natural gas is harvested.

“This is a complex issue that does not lend itself to simple answers,” Benninghoff said. “As policymakers, we have a responsibility to look at both the short-term and long-term impacts of any potential changes we might make. Meetings like this one help us to gather information so that we can make informed decisions.”

The House Finance Committee held an earlier meeting on the same subject on July 19 in Lycoming County. At that hearing, legislators who introduced bills to enact impact fees on Marcellus Shale drilling sites were given an opportunity to address the committee and explain their proposals.

State Representative Kerry Benninghoff
171st District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Dan Massing

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