Pa. to distribute $200M from gas drilling fees
HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Pennsylvania state agencies and local governments in places where drilling for natural gas is occurring learned Monday how much money they will get out from a fund that has already 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.
But 60 percent of the $204.2 million fund will go to local governments where drilling occurs, including many rural, sparsely populated areas. 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 checks cover 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.