In PA, it is against the law for companies to shift the burden of an impact fee onto the land owners according to act 13. “A producer may not make the fee … an obligation, indebtedness or liability of a landowner, leaseholder or other person in possession of real property, upon which the removal or extraction occurs.” This means that the companies themselves have to pay these impact fees and the landowners dont have to sacrifice any of their royalties to help pay the fee. Some companies, like Chesapeake Energy and Chevron have found ways around the law and are still requiring landowners to partially pay the fee. They put it in their lease with the landowner that “landowners agree that Pennsylvania impact fees would be deducted from their royalty payments in proportion to their interest.” This means that if a landowner is receiving 15% of the profits, they must pay 15% of the impact fee. As of right now, Chesapeake has said that they have not actually made landowners pay the partial fee. They have found other way to charge landowners, like through post-production costs. I honestly think that this was put in their lease so that sometime in the future when the law has settled down and is somewhat forgotten, the companies could bring up the partial fee and make landowners pay for the partial fee because it is in their lease.
by Paul Berger
Widener University Environmental Politics and Policy Student