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Pickett’s Effort to Update Clean and Green Law Successful
7/8/2011 11:20:00 AM
HARRISBURG, PA -– The state’s Clean and Green Law is being clarified with respect to lands that are sites for active gas and oil wells, under an effort by Rep. Tina Pickett.

House Bill 144 has been signed into law by Gov. Tom Corbett.

“Currently, there is confusion on when roll-back taxes should be applied on lands that have been enrolled in Clean and Green and that are now sites for oil and gas wells,” Pickett said. “Many questions have arisen among local tax collectors, county assessment offices and landowners, and that’s why this legislation was necessary.”

The Clean and Green program, created in 1974, allows farmers to receive tax benefits in exchange for keeping the land agricultural and preventing it from being developed.

Last year, Act 88 of 2010 was passed to provide guidance to county tax assessors on how to apply the roll-back tax penalty when oil and gas drilling is conducted on enrolled land. The roll-back tax penalty was to be applied when a well site restoration report was approved by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). However, these reports are not actually approved by DEP, but are merely submitted to the agency. Therefore, before Pickett’s legislation, there was no mechanism for the collection of roll-back taxes and application of fair market value assessment.

Pickett’s measure corrects this situation by changing the time when roll-back taxes and fair market value assessment can be applied from when a well site restoration report is approved by DEP to when a well production report is submitted to DEP. The roll-back taxes and fair market value assessment will continue to be limited to the area of land that does not comply with Clean and Green uses.

Pickett’s proposal states that roll-back taxes would be imposed on portions of land actually devoted to drilling activities, not for transmission or gathering lines. Whenever a portion of land contains an active gas or oil well, that segment cannot be used for agricultural purposes, and therefore, is subject to property tax.

Roll-back taxes and fair market value assessment will continue to be limited to the area of land that does not comply with Clean and Green uses.

The new law takes effect immediately.


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