PA DEP Sec. Abruzzo Announces Winners of $3M in CNG Grants

Part of the Pennsylvania Act 13 law, passed in early 2012, is a provision called an “impact fee” collected from Marcellus drillers (ultimately from landowners, because fees and taxes are always passed down the line). The first year the fee was collected it brought in over $200 million. The so-called fee is really 60% fee and 40% tax, as we’ve written about many times before. Why? Because 60% of the money collected stays in the communities impacted by drilling–for use with first responders, roads, etc. The other 40% is what MDN calls “walking around money”–money that’s spent by politicians in Harrisburg to curry favor with voters (i.e. vote buying). A lot of that money goes to southeastern PA (Philly area) where there is no drilling–but such was the sleazy political price to be paid in order to pass the legislation. Yes it stinks–but it is what it is.

If there’s any good use for a teeny tiny sliver of the 40% walking around money, it happened yesterday in Scranton, PA, where the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) Sec. Chris Abruzzo was on hand at the Cabot Oil & Gas’ “CNG Celebration” event at Johnson College (see our companion story today about the event). Abruzzo was there to announce the list of grant winners who will share in $3 million of Act 13 money to purchase, refit or supply filling stations for vehicles to run on compressed natural gas (CNG). By handing out this seed money, Gov. Tom Corbett hopes to encourage more companies and organizations to switch to cheaper and much less polluting natural gas as a power source. Below is the DEP announcement and list of winners of this year’s grant. The DEP will be back next year with even more money to award. They start accepting applications on Saturday…

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