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Impact fee revenue headed to programs

Citizen’s Voice

HARRISBURG – The stage is being set for the distribution of another earmark of revenue from impact fees paid by natural gas drillers.

While public attention has focused mainly on impact fees going to counties and municipalities in the Marcellus Shale region, the state impact fee law directs distribution of 40 percent of the revenue collected from drillers for a variety of statewide purposes under an umbrella Marcellus Legacy Fund.

The Commonwealth Financing Authority last week approved guidelines for five programs that will tap some of this money.

These are:

* The abandoned mine drainage abatement and treatment program providing grants to restore and maintain sections of streams impaired by acidic drainage from coal mines in Northeastern Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

* The watershed restoration program providing grants to restore streams harmed by pollution runoff.

* The baseline water quality data program providing grants for projects to document the quality of groundwater in private water supplies.

* The greenways, trails and recreation program providing grants for new projects and to maintain existing ones.

* The abandoned well plugging program providing grants to plug old oil and gas wells.

About $14.5 million in impact fee revenue is already available for these programs and that amount will grow this year, said Scott Dunkleberger, an official with the Department of Community and Economic Development. CFA will accept grant applications through July 31 and has scheduled action on awards at a Nov. 13 meeting.

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