DEP secretary calls paper on impact fee well count "incorrect"
Jan 24, 2013 (The Times-Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Researchers either "seriously misunderstood or misrepresented" Pennsylvania's impact fee law in a peer-reviewed paper questioning regulators' count of covered gas wells, Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Michael Krancer wrote in a letter on Tuesday.
The paper in the journal Environmental Practice by researchers at the University of Alberta and McGill University argued that the DEP left thousands of wells out of its official count because of database errors and a failure to include early wells they said fit the law's definition of unconventional wells.
In the letter, Mr. Krancer said it was the researchers who were "completely incorrect" about which wells are subject to the law.
He disputed the researchers' inclusion of old wells that produce too little gas to pay the fee; Medina group wells that tapped sandstone, not shale; and recent Marcellus Shale wells included on a preliminary list that the department later used to correct errors in its final list and several databases.
"Pennsylvanians are not missing out on any impact fee revenue whatsoever," Mr. Krancer wrote and added that DEP makes data accuracy a top priority.
The paper's authors said Wednesday they stand by their conclusions and detailed their extensive efforts to ask the department questions, point out data inconsistencies or solicit feedback about their findings throughout the process of their research.
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