Pa. discloses how it will divvy up $210M in shale gas fees

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Thursday disclosed how it will slice up the nearly $210 million pie of shale-gas impact fees from 2017, including portions totalling $3.65 million to Philadelphia and four surrounding counties.

County and municipal governments will receive a total of $115 million, and state agencies will will receive $18.25 million, as specified by 2012 law creating the impact fee. Another $76.5 million will be transferred to the Marcellus Legacy Fund, which provides financial support for environmental, highway, water and sewer projects, rehabilitation of greenways and other projects throughout the state.

Philadelphia will receive $1.4 million; Montgomery County will receive $732,000; Bucks County will receive $558,000; Delaware County will receive $502,000 and Chester County will receive $460,000.

Impact fee revenue increased $36 million last year, or 21 percent, because of an increase number of wells drilled in Pennsylvania and an increase in the average price of natural gas. The fees are assessed on each well; newer, more productive wells pay a higher fee.

The PUC, which has collected more than $1.4 billion in impact fees in seven years, provides more details on the disbursements on its website. The Pennsylvania legislature created the fee as an alternative to a severance tax assessed on production volume, which is commonly used in other oil and gas producing states.