Category of Protective Zoning: Shift Financial Burden Away From Local Governments (and You, the Taxpayer)
The cost of constructing fracking infrastructure is often passed on to the taxpayer in many different ways. If a road is not bonded or not bonded sufficiently, the damage from increased traffic may ultimately be paid for by the taxpayer.
Even just the process of considering an application for fracking infrastructure can be enormously costly for a local government. The application will most likely be processed by a township administrator then reviewed by the locality's solicitor and municipal engineer, as well as by the appropriate governing body (city council, zoning hearing board, etc.). These people are all usually compensated for their time reviewing the application via their salary, which comes from local taxpayers. If a locality needs to hire a professional consultant with specialized knowledge (such as a geologist) to review a land use application, that is another cost that is paid for by the taxpayer. The following are examples of language that help to shift costs from the township to the gas industry.
Type of Protective Language: Additional Bonding or Insurance Requirements
The damage to both public and private property that fracking can cause is well documented. and the regulatory state agencies are well aware of various types of this damage. To protect against these harms, municipalities can require additional road bonds or other types of insurance from gas companies before they issue a permit.
Type of Protective Language: Coverage Of Professional Consultant Fees
Most likely, your township does not employ a full time fracked-gas well engineer. Often times, townships do not have someone on staff who has the necessary type of professional expertise in order to review and enforce zoning permits for fracking.
So townships often end up hiring professional consultants to help review complicated and very technical permit materials. As you may imagine, this expert advice does not come freely and after all is said and done, just reviewing the permit application could cost the township tens of thousands of dollars. These are some ways to ensure that the applicant is bearing the burden of those professional consultant fees.
Type of Protective Language: Indemnification and Negligence Provisions
Indemnification clauses can help protect the township from being financially or legally liable for damage caused by the fracking company.
Type of Protective Language: Shifting Cost of First Responder Training
Local emergency response workers may not know how best to react to fracking-related threats. A way to improve the safety of your community is to have first responders go through specialized training that helps give them the knowledge and resources to deal with natural gas related disasters. Those trainings can be expensive but you can adopt language in your zoning code that helps to shift some of that cost onto the fracking industry.