(Harrisburg) The State Senate today passed a bill sponsored by Senator Gene Yaw, R-Lycoming, which is designed to benefit farmers and landowners by eliminating the inconsistent interpretation of the state’s Clean and Green law.
“I am pleased this important legislation has passed the Senate and hopeful the House will act on it quickly so that we can provide counties across the state with a consistent interpretation in which to follow,” Yaw said. “This will help to prevent differing opinions on how many acres of roll-back taxes should be levied on landowners who have leased for natural gas development.
“Farmers and landowners need this bill to become law so that there isn’t any confusion on how the Clean and Green Program operates,” he added. “Farmers continue to be under financial pressure, and I am hopeful this bill will alleviate a substantial burden caused by a roll-back tax on all property enrolled in the program.”
Yaw said the bill would require a roll-back tax to be levied only on the portion of land filed under the well restoration report and land which is incapable of being immediately used for agricultural use, agricultural reserve or forest reserve. Land devoted to subsurface transmission or gathering lines would be exempt from roll-back taxes. Each property must be restored to its original use and would be allowed to have one lease for temporary pipe storage facilities for a duration of two years.
The bill would allow for the development and use of Tier I alternative energy on any land use category of Clean and Green to be kept under preferential assessment as long as more than half of the energy annually generated is used for agriculture. Examples of Tier I include: solar photovoltaic, solar thermal, wind power, low-impact hydropower, geothermal energy, biologically derived methane gas, fuel cells, biomass energy and coal mine methane.
It would also allow for one permit for small non-coal surface mining on land enrolled in Clean and Green with the area in the permit subject to the roll-back tax.
Finally, land could voluntarily be removed from preferential assessment upon payment of any due roll-back taxes.
Contact: Adam Pankake