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You can't make this stuff up
But here's the kicker. If a county or the required number of municipalities does not approve the fee within this narrow schedule, then not only do the local governments not receive fee revenue, but the statewide programs funded by House Bill 1950 will also lose the revenue from that county.
Sure enough, a report this week by StateImpact, the reporting project of local public media and NPR, indicates that the Bradford County commissioners may not approve the fee.
And this isn't small potatoes. Bradford County, with a large number of Marcellus wells already, is one of the largest sources of money from the impact fee. In fact, Bradford County has so many wells that if the county or required number of municipalities do not approve the fee, then up to 25 percent of the entire fee income expected to go to the state will be lost. More counties could follow Bradford County's example, especially if drilling companies pressure its neighbors.
A thrust at the heart of conservation
The Keystone Fund receives its funding from a portion of the realty transfer tax, and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources administers a grant program that gives conservation and recreation funding to community projects. The governor proposes diverting all funding for Keystone to the General Fund in his budget.
The Keystone Fund has been an extraordinary asset for conservation and recreation in Pennsylvania. Since the fund's creation in 1993, it's been used for:
Citizens need to speak out against this raid on Keystone and call on their legislators to oppose this change in the budget. Stay in touch with PennFuture for more information.
House passes land bank legislation
Many legislators and organizations worked hard to pass this bill. Special thanks are due to Rep. Taylor, House Urban Affairs Committee Chairs Chris Ross, R-Chester, Rep. W. Curtis Thomas, D-Philadelphia, as well as their legislative staffs and the fine folks at the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania.
No idle threat
You might be surprised and disappointed to learn who is violating the law. Yesterday PennFuture filed notices of our intent to sue the Allegheny County Health Department and Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh for their failure to post the legally required signs restricting diesel idling.
Last year we asked these institutions and the University of Pittsburgh to comply with the law. Pitt stepped up and did the right thing, installing the signs soon after we brought the issue to the attention of the administration. So, Hail to Pitt!
However, the continuing refusal of the Health Department — the agency charged with enforcing the law — and — Children's Hospital — a premier institution of children's health — to comply with the law is just stunning.
A citizen's guide to Marcellus Shale drilling
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