Resource Extraction Bill Receives Final Approval
Senate Bill 367 headed to Governor for enactment into law
Legislation introduced by Senator Don White allowing the leasing of
property owned by the state and the State System of Higher Education (SSHE) for
mining or removal of valuable coal, oil, natural gas, coal bed methane,
limestone and mineral resources received final legislative approval Tuesday
(September 25) and is headed to the Governor for enactment into law.
"I appreciate my colleagues' support of this bill. This legislation does
not require the state or SSHE to lease or sell any property rights," Senator
White said. "It simply provides a new opportunity to generate revenue, while
helping students, supporting Pennsylvania's environmental protection efforts and
boosting our state economy through the creation of new jobs."
Senate Bill 367 would give the Department of General Services (DGS) the
option to make and execute the contracts or leases. Currently, only a few state
agencies such as the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Game
Commission and Fish and Boat Commission are authorized by law to enter into
leases for resource development. Those agencies and their leases are not
affected by SB 367.
Under Senator White's bill, also known as the "Indigenous Mineral Resources
Incentives Development Act," payments or royalties received pursuant to
contracts or leases on State-owned land will be apportioned into three areas:
the Oil and Gas Lease Fund, which supports conservation efforts, (60 percent);
the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority ((PENNVEST), 25 percent);
and, the host agency, (15 percent).
"This distribution formula provides equitable funding and promotes our efforts
to maintain and improve Pennsylvania's environment and infrastructure
improvement efforts," Senator White said.
That formula would only apply to revenues from leases on state-own lands. A
separate formula would be used for revenues from leases of land held by
Pennsylvania's state-owned universities.
Fifty percent of the payments or royalties received pursuant to contracts
or leases on State System of Higher Education land would be retained by the
university where the resources are located and 35 percent would be allocated for
SSHE distribution among the member universities. The remaining 15 percent of the
revenue would be used for tuition assistance at all 14 member universities.
"This distribution formula benefits all state universities," Senator White
said. "Perhaps the best component of the formula is the requirement that
15 percent be set aside for scholarships, which will allow students and their
families to directly benefit from this as well."