Impact fees on Marcellus Shale drilling in Pennsylvania are expected to be contributed to state, county and municipal governments by the end of this year, according to the Pittsburg Post-Gazette.
Money from the drilling is coming during a financially turbulent time in Pennsylvania, with Gov. Tom Corbett proposing to instate a 20 percent budget cut in human services to counties. Many county officials are saying that the impact fee is no longer as big a deal as it seemed a year ago in the discussion stages, but with counties scrambling to compensate for the budget cuts in human services, it could be a significant amount of money, according to the paper.
Although the counties have not yet received the money, some officials are trying to decide whether to use it for shale-related projects or to partially remedy the cuts to funding for services such as mental health/retardation, children and youth, senior transportation, and drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs. The fees will continue to be paid on a descending scale for 10 years and are based on the price of natural gas and the number of shale wells drilled. This year, the fees are projected to be $50,000 for each of the 4,095 horizontal wells and $10,000 for the 206 vertical wells according to the Gazette.