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Pickett Seeks to Correct State’s Updated Clean and Green Law

Bill changes time when roll-back taxes will apply to land with gas, oil wells 

Legislation that would help clarify state law with respect to land, enrolled in the Clean and Green program that are the sites for active gas or oil wells, passed the state House today, said Rep. Tina Pickett (R-Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna), author of the proposal. 

“If a property is enrolled in the state’s Clean and Green program and a part of that land contains a gas or oil well, taxes are due on that particular portion of land that cannot be used for agricultural purposes,” Pickett said. “However, there has been uncertainty on when those roll-back taxes should be applied.” 

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. 

Under House Bill 144, roll-back taxes would be imposed on portions of land actually devoted to drilling activities, not for transmission or gathering lines. The portion of the land subject to roll-back taxes would include the well site, which cannot be used for agricultural purposes. 

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. 

Pickett noted that the new law said the roll-back taxes would be applied at the time when a well site restoration report is approved by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). However, she said, the reports are not actually approved by the department, but are just submitted to the DEP. 

“To clarify state law, my legislation changes the time when roll-back taxes and fair market value assessment can be applied to when a well production report is submitted to DEP,” she said, noting that 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 legislation now goes to the state Senate for consideration. 

State Representative Tina Pickett
110th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact:  Jennifer Keaton

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