Senator Yaw’s Clean and Green Legislation Signed Into Law

(Harrisburg) – The Governor signed into law legislation sponsored by State Senator Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming, Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna and Union) Wednesday, which clarifies how farmland is assessed for natural gas, by eliminating the inconsistent interpretation of the state’s Clean and Green law.  Senate Bill 298 amends Clean and Green to better define how the widely used program is administered and is set to go into effect 60 days following the Governor’s October 27th signing date.

“This legislation is a critical update to how our farmland is to be assessed now and in the future.  The development of the Marcellus Shale has changed how everything is looked at as it is a total transition to what used to be ‘business as usual’ on all levels of government,” Yaw said.  “All laws of this nature need to be scrutinized to see if they are applicable in today’s world in keeping with the original spirit of the law and then changed if necessary.”

The act allows 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.

Yaw said the bill would restrict a roll-back tax to the portion of land filed under the well restoration report and land which is incapable of being immediately reclaimed for Agricultural Use, Agricultural Reserve or Forest Reserve as defined in the original statute.  “Farmers and landowners needed this legislation enacted to avoid paying roll-back taxes because of disparities in how Clean and Green was being assessed while open spaces in Pennsylvania were remaining largely intact which was the original intent of the program,” Yaw added.

Contact: Adam Pankake
(717) 787-3280

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