Wednesday, January 17, 2024

CFA Approves $27 Million In Watershed, Recreation Projects Funded By Act 13 Drilling Impact Fees; Fees Dropping $104 Million In 2024; New Grant Round Opening

On January 16, the
Commonwealth Financing Authority approved an estimated $27 million in funding for 166 local recreation, watershed protection, flood mitigation, sewage facility and an abandoned conventional oil well plugging.

             The projects were funded by Act 13 drilling impact fees assessed on unconventional shale gas drillers annually.  Conventional oil and gas operators do not pay this fee.

             The number of projects funded in each Act 14 support program include--

-- Abandoned Mine Drainage Treatment: None

-- Baseline Water Quality Data: None

-- Greenways, Trails and Recreation: 135 Projects, $21.1 million

-- Watershed Protection: 15 Projects, $2.1 million

-- Flood Mitigation: 11 Projects, $2.4 million

-- Sewage Facilities Program: 4 Projects, $111,000

-- Orphan or Abandoned Well Plugging: 1 Project, $139,801

Click Here for a list of projects approved.

             In 2022, the CFA awarded $18.2 million in grants for the Act 13 programs.  Read more here.

Act 13 fees yielded a record $278.9 million in revenue in 2023 to support this program and direct funding and allocations to local and county governments.

Fees To Drop In 2024

           The Independent Fiscal Office, however, projects a $104.8 million drop in Act 13 fee revenue for fees due in 2024 to $174 million due to the way the fee is calculated.  Read more here.

             The Act 13 fees are based on the number of wells drilled and producing gas.  They are not based on the amount of gas produced by the wells, like other gas producing states do.  423 new unconventional shale gas wells were drilled in 2023.

             In contrast, natural gas production in Pennsylvania has steadily climbed, with a few small decreases, according to the Independent Fiscal Office.  Read more here.

[Note: In 2022, Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming), Majority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, received 20.5% of all Act 13 drilling impact fees collected for his Senatorial district in Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan, Susquehanna and Union counties.  Read more here.]

             Natural Gas Pipeline Funding

             The CFA also approved a $552,084 grant to the Lycoming Mall in Lycoming County to extend a natural gas pipeline to serve the facility under the Pipeline Investment Program.

CFA accepts applications for the PIPE Program at any time.

             New Act 13 Grant Round Opening

The Commonwealth Financing Authority begins accepting applications for Act 13 Program watershed restoration, abandoned mine drainage abatement, baseline water quality data, orphaned or abandoned well plugging, sewage facilities, flood mitigation programs and recreation grants on February 1.

The deadline for applications is May 31.

2023 Oil & Gas Compliance Reports:

-- DEP Issued At Least 512 Violations To 95 Conventional Oil & Gas Operators For Abandoning Wells Without Plugging Them In 2023; 10 Shale Gas Operators Were Issued NOVs For Abandoning Wells  [PaEN]

-- DEP Issues Record 6,860 Notices Of Violation To Conventional Oil & Gas Operators In 2023-- Nearly 52% More Than In 2021; ‘Culture Of Non-Compliance’ Continues  [PaEN] 

-- 2023 Shale Gas Operator Compliance Report: 1,310 Violations; Explosions; Pad Fire, Evacuation; Uncontrolled Gas Venting; Frack-Outs; Polluting Water Supply; Spills; Pipeline Crashing Thru A Home; More  [PaEN]

-- PA Environment Digest: Articles On Oil & Gas Facility Impacts

PA Oil & Gas Industry Public Notice Dashboards:

-- PA Oil & Gas Weekly Compliance Dashboard - Jan. 4 to 12 - 9 More Abandoned Conventional Wells; Leaking Wastewater Tanks; Rager Mountain Gas Storage Area Cleanup Continues; Pipeline Land Slips  [PaEN]

-- PA Oil & Gas Industrial Facilities: Permit Notices/Opportunities To Comment - January 13  [PaEN]

-- DEP Posted 61 Pages Of Permit-Related Notices In January 13 PA Bulletin  [PaEN]

Related Articles - Grid Reliability:

-- PJM Urges United Action To Sustain Grid Reliability Through The Energy Transition, Avoid Unreliability Issues Of Natural Gas, Other Generators [PaEN]

-- FERC Approves PJM $1.25 Billion Winter Storm Elliot Settlement With Non-Performing Natural Gas, Other Electricity Generators [PaEN]

-- PJM Makes Multiple Reliability-Focused Improvements To Prepare For Winter To Deal With 70% Natural Gas, Other Generator Nonperformance In 2022 [PaEN]

-- House Hearing: Shapiro Administration Supports Expanding Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards; Renewables Lower Energy Costs; Increase Grid Reliability; More Work Needed To Improve Gas Reliability [PaEN]


-- Marcellus Drilling News: US Natural Gas Prices Make Huge Jump On Deep Freeze; Some Shale Gas Prices Increase By 400%

-- Reuters: US Natural Gas Supplies Drop Due To Frozen Wells, Record Demand Forecast Due To Extreme Cold

-- Reuters: US Natural Gas Demand Eyes Record As Arctic Blast Dents Output

-- Financial Times: The LNG Natural Gas Glut Will Chill The Gas Ambitions Of Oil Majors

-- Bloomberg: EU Sees Natural Gas Storage Levels More Than Half Full By Winter’s End

-- Financial Times: Petrochemical Glut Makes New Plastic Cheaper Than Recycled

Related Articles:

-- PJM Interconnection Extends Cold Weather Advisory Thru Jan. 21 In Western Region; Conservative Operations Remain In Effect Due To Natural Gas Fuel Restrictions  [PaEN]

-- DCNR Begins Accepting Community Conservation Partnership Grant Applications Jan. 16; Snowmobile/ATV Grants Feb. 1  [PaEN]

[Posted: January 17, 2024]  PA Environment Digest

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