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October 17, 2012

County, municipalities to get drilling fees

NEW CASTLE — Lawrence County will receive $94,947 in impact fees from gas drilling this year.

Its municipalities also will receive lump sums from the payments paid by drillers of Marcellus and Utica shales.

Pennsylvania state agencies and local governments in places where drilling for natural gas is occurring learned Monday how much money they will get from a fund that already has collected more than $200 million in “impact fees” from drillers.

Gov. Tom Corbett held a Capitol news conference at which he and other state officials disclosed the breakdown for counties, townships and boroughs. Checks should be going out from the state treasury over the coming 10 days, they said.

 All 67 counties get a share of the money, as do the Fish and Boat Commission, the transportation department, the Department of Environmental Protection and other state agencies that have a role in regulating or dealing with the drilling industry.

But 60 percent of the $204.2 million fund will go to 35 counties and nearly 1,500 municipalities where drilling occurs, including many rural, sparsely populated areas.

 Lawrence County will collect $17,651 as a county that his host to actual wells that were drilled. The county will receive an additional $77,296 from the Marcellus Legacy Fund.

Its 27 municipalities also will receive their own allocations because they are in a county that has drilling going on.

Lawrence County Commissioner chairman Dan Vogler said last night that the commissioners had not yet been notified of the coming disbursement amounts.

He explained that municipalities that have actual wells drilled, based on the number of actual wells drilled, will receive higher payments than those with no wells, and that the disbursement figures are based upon the number of wells from 2011.

Also, those municipalities that border municipalities with wells are to receive higher amounts, he said.

Two wells were drilled in Lawrence County in 2011 in Little Beaver Township, he said.

He noted that the commissioners intend to discuss the funds further during their regular public meeting at 10 a.m. today at the courthouse.

The Marcellus Shale drilling boom has been concentrated in a wide swath of the state that runs from the northeast, across the northern part of Pennsylvania and into the southwest corner that borders West Virginia.

“We are serious about becoming energy leaders in this country and the world,” Corbett said, adding that the money will help local governments straining to provide services and maintain roads as drillers, their rigs and related activity have accompanied the shale gas boom.

“We know that growth is something that has to be managed,” Corbett said.

The impact fee, passed in February for the Marcellus Shale, requires drillers to pay $50,000 for each horizontally drilled well and $10,000 for each vertical well drilled through 2011. The money being distributed was linked to nearly 4,500 wells and covers drilling through 2011. Payments for 2012 are due July 1.

State law restricts how the money can be spent, allowing for such uses as fixing roads and building or repairing water and sewer infrastructure in areas where drilling is being done.

In parts of the state without drilling, the money must be used to build or maintain greenways, recreational trails, open space, natural areas, conservation, beautification, heritage parks or water resource management. Philadelphia’s entire $1.3 million share, for example, will go to those types of projects.



Lawrence County and its municipalities stand to receive these amounts from  shale impact fees under state Act 13:

• Lawrence County — $94,947

•City of New Castle — $1,281

BOROUGHS

•Bessemer   — $64.37

•Ellport  —  $77

•Ellwood City — $405

•Enon Valley — $133

•New Beaver  —  $914

•New Wilmington —  $117

•SNPJ Borough — $5

•South New Castle  — $47

•Volant — $9

•Wampum — $45

TOWNSHIPS

•Hickory Township, $193

•Little Beaver  — $19,156.97

•Mahoning — $269

•Neshannock — $647

•North Beaver  — $2,688

•Perry — $1,143

•Plain Grove — $134

•Pulaski — $302

•Scott — $190

•Slippery Rock —  $2,038

•Shenango — $524

•Taylor— $93

•Union — $340

•Washington — $109

•Wayne — $217

•Wilmington — $233

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