Towns across Pennsylvania will soon receive their chunks of the $204 dollars from energy companies operating in the Marcellus Shale region.
Drillers paid the $50,000 fee on each of 4,022 horizontal shale wells. Another 311 shallower vertical wells were assessed at a lesser rate of $10,000 each.
The drilling impact fee was approved as part of the Marcellus Shale law passed by the Legislature in February, known as Act 13. The law also overhauled environmental rules and outlined what towns can and cannot control in regard to gas drilling.
“The Marcellus industry continues to create jobs and prosperity for our state’s working families,” Corbett said. “We are excited and encouraged by this growth, but we know that every leap forward has an impact. That’s why this impact fee is appropriate; millions of dollars will go directly to help the communities who need it.”
Corbett said that counties and municipalities may use these funds on various expenses related to impacts from natural gas development, including:
- Construction, repair and maintenance of roads, bridges and other public infrastructure;
- Water, storm water and sewer system construction and repair;
- Emergency response preparedness, training, equipment, responder recruitment;
- Preservation and reclamation of surface and subsurface water supplies;
- Records management, geographic information systems and information technology;
- Projects which increase the availability of affordable housing to low-income residents;
- Delivery of social services, including domestic relations, drug and alcohol treatment, job training and counseling;
- Offsetting increased judicial system costs, including training;
- Assistance to county conservation districts for inspection, oversight and enforcement of natural gas development; and
- County or municipal planning.
Under Act 13, state agencies with responsibility and oversight of natural gas development will receive $25.5 million in funding, including the Department of Environmental Protection, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, the Office of the State Fire Commissioner, and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. In addition, 60 percent of the remaining funds will be allocated directly to counties and local municipalities that host Marcellus Shale natural gas development. All told, 35 counties and 1,485 municipalities will share in $108.7 million.
The remaining 40 percent of the revenue – or $72.5 million – will be distributed to all 67 counties and their municipalities across Pennsylvania, and set aside for competitive grants for projects such as water and sewer, local bridge improvements, local community park and recreation, Growing Greener and other municipal projects.
“I’ve said it before, energy equals jobs; not just in the industry itself, but in various fields all across Pennsylvania,” Corbett said. “We’re ushering in a new industrial revolution, and we’re doing it responsibly with our world-class environmental standards and by providing the communities who are hosting and impacted by natural gas development with the financial resources they need to address those impacts.”
To see how much each county and town will receive please visit, http://www.puc.state.pa.us/NaturalGas/pdf/MarcellusShale/Act13-County_Muncipality_Payments2011.pdf