Research & Studies

Local Funding Guide: Pennsylvania Act 13 Conservation and Recreation Funding

Pennsylvania state agencies and local governments are now receiving millions of dollars from the recently enacted legislation imposing impact fees on oil and gas drillers. The legislation, known as Act 13, specifies how the fee revenues shall be distributed and the purposes for which they may be expended. Income from the fee will go to a wide range of recipients, from state agencies and local government to private entities to address the direct and indirect impacts of shale gas drilling as well as a host of other current and future needs. For example local funds may be used to fix roads, bridges and other infrastructure, provide affordable housing, repair and maintain stormwater and sewer systems, and preserve open space for parks and trails among other purposes. The state’s portion of the impact fee revenues will fund programs that benefit communities inside and outside of the Marcellus Shale region. Some state monies will be directed to the Environmental Stewardship Fund, water and sewer projects, open space preservation, transportation infrastructure, and grants to buy or convert vehicle fleets to natural gas. The purpose of this document is to provide a guide for local governments and non-profits to access those funds that can be used for land conservation, parks, trails, and recreation.

Other provisions of Act 13 updated the Commonwealth’s regulation of oil and gas development and a restriction of municipalities’ authority to enact zoning ordinances that regulate where oil and gas development may occur. Both provisions, as well as the fee structure itself, have been controversial. Those portions of the law are beyond the scope of this document. It is intended to serve as a guide for local governments to better understand funds available under Act 13 to support land and heritage conservation, parks, and recreation.

Local Funding Guide: Pennsylvania Act 13 Conservation and Recreation Funding (full version)