In the next 10 days, municipalities and counties across Pennsylvania are slated to receive their cut of the roughly $204 million of impact fee revenue from Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling.
Local governments in drilling regions are getting cash to spend on a menu of approved areas, such as low-income housing and road repair.
But as state Public Utility Commission chairman Robert Powelson points out, all 67 counties will receive some portion of the impact fee revenue.
“There are communities in southeastern Pennsylvania, where I’m from — Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County, and Bucks County — that are also net beneficiaries of these funds,” Powelson said.
He says those funds are slated for things such as environmental programs, bridge repair, and water and sewer projects.
Philadelphia County, for example, doesn’t have any active natural gas wells, but is getting $1.3 million.
By contrast, Allegheny County, which is in drilling country, will receive just about $1 million for the environmental and infrastructure projects.
State Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati says the impact fee money stands to be a game-changer for communities that have experienced the heaviest drilling activity.
“They’re going to receive, maybe, $50,000 in impact fees. That doesn’t sound like much. People around the state may laugh about that,” he said. “But when you have a $150,000 budget, it makes a difference.”