Pennsylvania’s Act 13 Marcellus Shale impact fees from the state’s 6,000 wells so far amount to $400 million: $204 million for 2011 and $198 million for 2012 (because the price of natural gas declined).
A fixed amount goes to agencies that oversee the industry, and the rest goes to local entities.
Counties where drilling takes place get 60 percent of the remainder, while 40 percent goes into the Marcellus Legacy Fund, which is accessible to all.
According to spokesman Kevin Sunday, the DEP’s Growing Greener program is accepting grant applications from local governments, nonprofits, schools, municipal authorities and watershed associations for $23 million — $18 million from the second round of Act 13 impact fees and $5 million from the federal government — to improve water quality, restore watersheds and reduce abandoned mine drainage.
He said such programs have been very successful.
“Bear Run in Indiana County … we used some Growing Greener and federal dollars in the past to cut down on the acid mine drainage," he said. "That allowed fish to come back, and we have a greater biodiversity in the area. We actually pulled several miles of that stream off the federal impairment list last year.”
To download a grant application, visit www.dep.state.pa.us and click "Growing Greener." They are due by August 16th, and most projects must be completed in 2017.