Environmental chief: Impact fee funds justify general budget cuts

HARRISBURG (AP) – Pennsylvania’s Environmental Protection Secretary Michael Krancer is telling lawmakers that money from the new gas-drilling impact fee will take the place of general tax revenue to finance some state programs.

Appearing at a budget hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday, Krancer cited the so-called Act 13 fee as a source of future funding for such purposes as hazardous-waste cleanups, local conservation districts and flood control.

Krancer was responding to wide-ranging questions from committee members. For the fiscal year that starts July 1, the Department of Environmental Protection is seeking nearly $128 million in state funds. That’s up by less than $1 million.

The House Appropriations Committee is holding simultaneous budget hearings and has heard from several state officials.