Grant Funding Now Available as a Result of Marcellus Shale Impact Fees

December 2013Articles In the Zone

In 2012, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett signed Act 13 into law, which authorized Pennsylvania counties to impose an impact fee on Marcellus Shale gas wells. Over $400 million in impact fees have been generated, and while the majority of the impact fees are going to local governments in areas where drilling occurs, some of the money is being made available in the form of Marcellus Legacy Fund grants by the Commonwealth Financing Authority for greenways, trails and recreation projects, and watershed restoration and protection projects.

On November 22, 2013, the Commonwealth Financing Authority approved the release of more than $28.5 million in grants from the Marcellus Legacy Fund. Of that total, $16.5 million was divided between 116 projects involving the development or improvement of greenways, trails and recreation areas. The projects weren’t all in areas where drilling is occurring, in fact, this round of funding included projects in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties, where there is no Marcellus Shale exploration. The greenways, trails and recreation program funds can go toward the planning, acquisition, development, rehabilitation and repair greenways, of recreational trails, open space, parks and beautification projects. The limit on funding is $250,000 and most projects require a 50 percent match. For profit businesses are eligible to apply, along with municipalities, non-profits, and watershed organizations. Developers in southeast Pennsylvania with projects that involve creating greenways or parks should consider including Marcellus Legacy grant funding in the project funding mix, despite the name.

Marcellus Legacy grant funding is also available for watershed restoration and protection projects. The latest funding announcement included $5.6 million to support 32 watershed and restoration projects. Again, those projects aren’t confined to areas where drilling is occurring, with projects in Chester, Delaware and Philadelphia county receiving funding. The funding is targeted at projects designed to restore and maintain restored stream reaches impaired by uncontrolled non-point source discharges and polluted runoff. The idea is to improve water quality in the targeted streams so they can be removed from PADEP’s list of Impaired Waters. Watershed restoration and Protection Program grants are available to for-profit businesses, as well as municipalities and watershed organizations. The maximum grant is $300,000 and there is a 15 percent match required.

Information on the Marcellus Legacy Fund can be found on PA DCED’s website at .

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