Welcoming Industry Without Sacrificing The Public's Health, Safety & Welfare
The gas Impact Fee revenue will continue to decline in PA, according to the commonwealth's Independent Fiscal Office report issued 2016. As you know, there are several contributing factors with the two most prevalent reasons being a drop in natural-gas prices and waiting for pipelines to be built. What does this mean to Fayette County? Less money = Less projects. For a breakdown of the impact fee revenue Fayette County received and how the funds were spent go to Impact Fee - Amount Received & How Spent
There is no one source to obtain data for jobs created in Fayette County as a result of Marcellus Shale activities. We do know that jobs created are both a direct and indirect result of the oil & gas industry.
As this taskforce progresses it is the hope that this information can be made available by contacting the oil & gas operators, as well as, those economic development agencies which should have data showing the "spin-off" businesses, as well as, the trickle-down affect such as increase sales to Fayette County's already established businesses.
What we should be doing now
Working on an amendment because as CCAP (County Commissioners Association of PA) reported in a recent PA Supreme Court decision local municipalities do have a say in this. In summary, the ruling states :
In a 4-2 majority opinion in Robinson Township, et al v. PUC (Aplt.), AG & DEP, the court addressed multiple areas of Act 13 including extension of a previous Commonwealth Court ruling striking the state preemption of local zoning for oil and gas to also strike provisions for the Public Utility Commission (PUC) to review local ordinances and withhold impact fee funding related to non-compliant ordinances. The Court further ruled that exclusions from notifications of spills to private water well owners, medical gag orders barring informational access on chemicals utilized in the fracking process, and eminent domain provisions related to underground storage fields are also unconstitutional. The ruling was stayed for 180 days to allow the General Assembly to correct any of these provisions of the law if it so chooses.
HERE IN FAYETTE COUNTY
Oil & Gas Zoning Ordinance
Fayette County's 2006 Zoning Ordinance as it relates to oil & gas activities can be found in Section 1000-851 and is not in compliance with Act 13
In 2012 and 2015 amendments were proposed but not adopted.
In June 2016, the Planning Commission a proposed amendment. They chose not to make a recommendation to the Commissioners to approve or not approve.
On July 21, 2016, the County Commissioners, at a Rezoning Hearing, took testimony and comment. Action by the Board of Commissioners will then be taken at the Commissioners meeting on Thursday, August 18, 2016
On August 18, 2016 my Motion To Table the amendment and use it as a starting point died for lack of a second vote. The other two Commissioners voted 2-1 to deny the amendment.
According to the Oil & Gas Report data on the PA DEP website, Fayette County has not shown much activity in the last few years in way of Permits Issued or Wells Drilled. This is not unique to Fayette County as other Marcellus Shale counties are experiencing the same decline.
According to the July 2016 report by the Center for Rural PA (a legislative agency of the PA General Assembly) , "for the 5-year period of 2010-2014, 2,984 gas drilling permits were issued for Bradford County, 1,262 for Greene, 1,520 for Lycoming, 1,930 for Susquehanna, 1,479 for Tioga, and 1,656 for Washington, totaling 10,831. By comparison, Butler had 673, Clearfield had 348, Fayette had 302, Westmoreland had 362 and Wyoming had 509, for a total of 2,193."
The PA DEP updates their website showing the number of permits issued, wells drilled and other useful data. For Fayette County data use Region 8220
Marcellus Shale Taskforce
Fayette County PA