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Dinniman, Rafferty Propose Impact Fee for Pipeline Projects
WEST CHESTER (October 10) – State Senators Andy Dinniman and John C. Rafferty, Jr. have introduced legislation to help communities, including Chester and Montgomery counties, protect property values and natural resources in the face of the ever-growing number of pipelines carrying Marcellus Shale natural gas to market.
Under Rafferty’s and Dinniman’s Senate Bill 1499, users of future pipelines would pay an impact fee to the municipalities and counties bisected by their pipelines, which cut through the suburbs on their way to refineries, ports and markets in Philadelphia, Wilmington, and other parts of the East Coast.
“The boom in natural gas production within Pennsylvania has resulted in a substantial increase in the construction of natural gas lines throughout the Commonwealth,” said Rafferty. “These pipelines are having real effects on real people that simply cannot be ignored. It was apparent to us that something needed to be done to compensate the communities dealing with these projects. Pipeline construction is disruptive and has certain inherent safety and environmental risks associated with the process. Our communities deserve to be compensated for these risks and disruptions.”
Dinniman said, “At the same time we push for this critical impact fee, we will continue to outright oppose specific pipeline projects that our residents and townships feel pose safety and environmental risks to their communities.”
“Our energy needs are real,” Dinniman said. “But we will not and cannot ignore the public safety, quality of life and environmental issues inherent with pipeline projects.”
Under Senate Bill 1499, the amount of the impact fee would be the average value of the land in the pipeline’s right-of-way. More specifically, the impact fee would be assessed in what the federal government defines as “high-consequence areas” – those areas where pipelines exist near residences and businesses.
Fifty percent of the impact fee would go to the county that is home to the respective pipeline. Forty percent would go to the municipality that is home to the pipeline. Up to 10 percent would go to Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission for administration and enforcement of the law.