Mansfield and Other State-Owned Universities to Benefit from Mineral Extraction on University Property, Says Baker
HARRISBURG – Legislation permitting state-owned universities, such as Mansfield University, to profit from the extraction of minerals on their lands is headed to the governor’s desk, announced Rep. Matt Baker (R-Bradford/Tioga), a supporter of the bill and member of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) Board of Governors.
“Our universities are more financially strapped than ever with decreasing state funds and mounting educational costs,” said Baker. “This legislation will provide a way for the universities to benefit from the lands on which they are located. Several of the schools are positioned well for the extraction of coal or natural gas in particular, and the universities are in favor of the proposal.”
Senate Bill 367 establishes the Resources Development Act to authorize the Department of General Services to execute contracts or leases for the development of coal, oil, natural gas, coal bed methane and limestone beneath state-owned or PASSHE land and to grant rights-of-way for the purpose of developing such resources.
The bill directs 85 percent of the proceeds from extraction for the purpose of deferred maintenance, energy efficiency or energy cost-saving improvements at the universities. The 85 percent would be split with 50 percent going to the PASSHE school from which the mineral was extracted, and 35 percent shared with those schools that are not suited for extraction.
The remaining 15 percent of proceeds will be allocated for tuition scholarships for all 14 state universities.
The PASSHE includes the following universities: Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester.
“Our local economy has benefitted greatly from the development of the natural gas industry and, in fact, Mansfield University is now offering a program to help train prospective employees for work in the industry. In fact, 6,000 people have already completed the program offered by the Marcellus Institute at Mansfield University.,” said Baker. “It only makes sense that the university should also be able to take advantage of the mineral rights associated with their property.”
Baker noted that Mansfield University is also now offering two new degree programs - the Associate of Applied Science in Natural Gas Production and Services and the Bachelor of Science in Safety Management - that will also support jobs in the natural gas industry.
State Representative Matt Baker
68th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Tricia Lehman