Marcellus shale gas

Greene County had 1,183 eligible wells last year, which is the third-largest number in the state.

Greene and Washington counties will receive $6 million and $8.4 million, respectively, from this year’s impact fees, making them among the counties receiving the largest share of fees, paid by shale gas drillers.

Those counties are also home to the only four municipalities in the state that will each get more than $1 million. Those are Greene’s Center, Morris and Franklin Township, plus Washington’s Amwell Township.

Those allotments were part of $251.8 million in allotments under Act 13, the 2012 overhaul to the state oil and gas law, that the state Public Utility Commission announced Thursday.

Pennsylvania does not levy a severance tax on oil and gas, but – to offset the effects of industry on local infrastructure and services – assesses an impact fee on eligible fracking wells and distributes the money to counties and municipalities based on how many wells they host.

Local and county governments can use the money for purposes that include roads, storm and sewer infrastructure, emergency services and affordable housing programs.

Last year, $4.9 million in impact fees went to Greene and $7.3 million went to Washington.

Of the 9,560 wells eligible for the fees last year, 1,184 were in Greene, the third-largest number in the state. Another 1,655 were in Washington, which had more than any other county in the state.

The number of eligible wells statewide this year exceeds last year’s count, 8,518, by more than 1,000. The increase in wells contributed to a roughly $33.4 million jump in fee revenue statewide.

Municipal and county governments directly affected by drilling will receive a total of $134.7 million. Another $89.8 million will go to the Marcellus Legacy Fund, which provides money for environmental, highway, water, sewer and other projects throughout the state.

A final $18.4 million will flow to state agencies involved in regulating the industry.

Of the money being doled out this year, $8.9 million comes from fees at issue in litigation that prompted the state Supreme Court to rule in December that certain so-called “stripper wells” were in fact eligible for the fees.

Greene received $180,000 based on the ruling. For Washington, that figure was $123,000.

The top two well operators paying the fees were Range Resources – $32.7 million – and EQT, which paid $24.8 million.

For more details on the Public Utility Commission’s report, visit act13-reporting.puc.pa.gov.

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