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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: April 8, 2019 03:24 PM
From: Senator Camera Bartolotta and Sen. Patrick J. Stefano
To: All Senate members
Subject: No-Tax Alternative to Restore PA Plan
In recent months, Governor Wolf proposed a plan called Restore PA, which would use a job killing energy tax to fund a bond to provide funding for blight remediation, stormwater infrastructure, flood prevention, brownfield cleanups, green infrastructure and repairing the Commonwealth’s back roads among other projects. While Governor Wolf’s focus on these important issues for Pennsylvania’s communities is worth applauding, we believe the proposed funding source for these initiatives is reckless and counterproductive. The Governor’s proposed severance tax will only cost jobs and increase energy prices for Pennsylvanians.

In the near future, we will introduce two bills in an effort to end Governor Wolf’s moratorium on non-surface disturbance natural gas drilling on state forest land and direct any new revenue towards funding conservation projects such as those referenced in Restore PA.

Document #1

Introduced as SB716

Description: Bartolotta/Stefano

This legislation will end Governor Wolf’s moratorium on non-surface disturbance natural gas drilling on state forest land. It will allow the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) to decide whether to enter into new gas leases.

For seventy years, DCNR has managed the responsible mineral extraction of natural gas on state land. According to the Department, “Approximately 1.5 million acres of the 2.2 million-acre state forest land are underlain by Marcellus and other shale gas formations, making it a key venue for developing this important energy source in Pennsylvania.”

Restoring DCNR’s ability to provide new natural gas leases in a safe and responsible manner will produce much needed, new revenue. This legislation only removes the Governor’s moratorium; it does not require DCNR to authorize new non-surface disturbance horizontal drilling. 

This non-tax revenue option should be made available once again. It has the potential to generate significant funds for important environmental efforts without asking taxpayers to pay higher taxes.

Document #2

Introduced as SB717

Description: Stefano/Bartolotta

This legislation will setup a special fund to be managed by the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA). Any revenue generated from new gas leases on state forest land will be placed into this fund. The CFA will create guidelines and an application process for funding to be awarded in the following categories:
  • Blight Remediation - When the blight to be replaced is an environmental hazard or will be replaced with green space. These grants will be available to Land Banks and Redevelopment Authorities with land bank capabilities.
  • Critical Flood Control Infrastructure - Funding will be made available to replace high hazard dams and conduct stream restoration and maintenance.
  • Stormwater Infrastructure - Pennsylvania’s storm water infrastructure is aging and federal EPA mandates are causing storm water fees to be put in place to replace or install storm water systems.
  • PA Back Roads - Funding will be made available for paving and repairing of dirt and gravel roads, and helping to reduce the sediment in our streams.
  • Green Infrastructure - Funding will be made available to state, county and municipal parks for new outdoor recreational opportunities for residents.
  • Abandoned Mine Reclamation Projects - Funding will be made available to conservation districts and organizations seeking to undertake mine reclamation to improve waters flowing into our waterways.