The state House has approved legislation sponsored by Rep. Sandra Major (R-Susquehanna/Wayne/Wyoming) to address small noncoal surface mining on land enrolled in the state’s Farmland and Forest Land Assessment Act, also known as Clean and Green.
The Clean and Green program was created in 1974 to encourage preservation of agricultural land. Properties enrolled in the program are assessed and taxed based on their use value, rather than the higher market value. Under the law, if the use of the property changes, owners may be assessed roll-back taxes on all or part of the land.
“Currently, landowners who conduct small noncoal surface mining on their properties could face paying roll-back taxes on their entire tract of land,” Major said. “However, landowners who use their land for wind energy or for oil and gas and coal bed methane exploration and extraction activities are only assessed roll-back taxes on the portion of the land being used.
“My bill would apply the same rules to small noncoal surface mining,” she added.
Major’s House Bill 143 places a limit of one small noncoal surface mine permit per Clean and Green property. The state’s Noncoal Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act sets small noncoal mining permit limits at 10,000 tons of mineral extracted per year on no more than five acres of land.
The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.