Pa. Dems want to bolster bill on drilling-impact fee

    Democrats in the Pennsylvania Senate want to amend the bill calling for an impact fee on gas drilling.

    The new measure, which restores language to the bill that was introduced by Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati, sets a fee based on the current price of gas and how much of it is extracted.

    It would also rework the breakdown of funds slated for local and statewide distribution, and increase the amount of money going to regions where there are gas pipelines–but no drilling–in the Marcellus Shale formation.

    Scarnati’s measure would send money only to municipalities and counties hosting active wells.

    Sen. Andy Dinniman of Chester and Montgomery counties, who is co-sponsoring the amendment, says his Republican colleagues support it as a way to strengthen a bill that became weaker over time.

    “There was a need to get this out of committee. So a watered-down version evolved,” said Dinniman. “It got out of committee so that now the will of the majority of both parties in the Senate can come about and we can work something out.”

    If it is not passed alongside the local impact fee proposal, Democrats say they’re prepared to offer the amendment as part of the budget package.

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