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Natural gas impact fee funds Westmoreland, Allegheny projects

Stephen Huba
| Monday, Nov. 20, 2017, 12:03 p.m.
Each new unconventional well drilled into the Marcellus Shale is subject to the state impact fee. Some of the money is distributed directly to counties to offset the costs of increased drilling activity.
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Each new unconventional well drilled into the Marcellus Shale is subject to the state impact fee. Some of the money is distributed directly to counties to offset the costs of increased drilling activity.

The latest round of grants from the state's natural gas impact fee will help fund projects in Western Pennsylvania involving flood mitigation, abandoned mine treatment, park development and watershed protection, Gov. Tom Wolf said.

In Westmoreland and Allegheny counties, the Commonwealth Financing Authority recently approved projects totaling $2.9 million — $2.3 million for Allegheny County and $600,000 for Westmoreland County.

The impact fee is the annual fee that the state applies to each new unconventional well drilled into the Marcellus shale. Some of the money is distributed directly to counties to offset the costs of increased drilling activity. Some is made available to individual communities in the form of grants.

Act 13 of 2012 stipulates that a portion of the fee revenue be transferred to the CFA for initiatives such as abandoned mine drainage abatement, abandoned well plugging, sewage treatment, greenways, trails and recreation, baseline water quality data, watershed restoration and flood control.

“These important community projects reflect the broad benefits of Pennsylvania's natural gas impact tax, which alone has generated more than $1.2 billion,” said David Spigelmyer, president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition. “Local leaders have made it clear that this essential revenue source is working effectively (and) delivering much needed funding.”

Some of the recent projects include:

Abandoned mine drainage abatement and treatment

Westmoreland

• Western Pennsylvania Conservancy — Sewickley Creek Acid Mine Treatment, $225,026

Flood mitigation

Westmoreland

• Jeannette — City of Jeannette and Penn Borough Flood Protection Project, $325,000

Greenways, trails and recreation

Allegheny

• Plum — Plum Playground/Ball Fields, $51,500

• Aspinwall — Sprinkle Park Revitalization, $74,000

• Tarentum — Grandview Park Rehabilitation, $200,000

• Oakmont — Plum Creek Trail System (Phase II and Pump Track Project), $232,000

Westmoreland

• Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh — Powdermill Nature Reserve Education Trail, $63,811

• Trafford — Westmoreland Park, $211,580

• New Kensington — Memorial Park Renovations, $250,000

• Monessen — Ninth Street Park and City Park Walking Track Improvements, $100,000

• Loyalhanna Watershed Association — The Watershed Farm Greenway & Trail, $89,760

• Mt. Pleasant Township — Norvelt Recreation Area/Playground, $43,684

• Westmoreland County — Twin Lakes Park Expansion (Phase III), $200,000

• Derry Township — Loyalhanna Trail Segments 5-6 Trail Plan, $107,100

• Sewickley — Playground of Our Dreams, $60,000

• Salem — Seanor Farm Park Phase 1B, $190,000

• Murrysville — Playground at the Miracle League Field, $120,507

• Hempfield — Hempfield Park Revitalization Project (Phase 1), $215,000

• Mt. Pleasant Township — Mammoth Recreation Area-Playground, $19,975

• Lower Burrell — K-9 Officer Derek Kotecki Memorial Park Renovation, $50,000

• Trafford — Trafford Fairmont Playground Rehabilitation, $97,676

• Derry Borough — Derry Community Park and Pedestrian Trails, $225,000

• Hempfield — Hempfield Park (Pavilion F), $225,000

• Saint Vincent College Corp. — Connecting Communities Through the Saint Vincent Trail, $164,000

• Rostraver — DiVirgilio Sports Complex Rehabilitation (Phase III), $160,000

• New Kensington — Downtown New Kensington Playground Project, $227,847

• North Irwin — North Irwin Park Improvement Project, $40,000

Watershed restoration and protection

Westmoreland

• Westmoreland Conservation District — McGee Run Watershed Best Management Practices, $300,000

• Western Pennsylvania Conservancy — Sewickley Creek Through D&G Road BMP's, $53,760

• Jacobs Creek Watershed Association — Rodgers Stream Bank Restoration, $6,900

Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-1280, shuba@tribweb.com or via Twitter @shuba_trib.

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