November 16, 2011
Gas Drilling Bill Clears Senate
The Pennsylvania state Senate on November 15 approved a measure that would set an impact fee on Marcellus Shale natural gas wells. Under the bill, drilling companies would pay an annual decreasing fee on their wells, beginning at $50,000 per well, payable over the first 20 years. Fifty-five percent of the money would go to Marcellus counties and municipalities, while 45 percent would go to the state for infrastructure, environmental programs and natural gas projects. The fee would raise $94 million from wells that were producing gas this year, and would rise to $155 million next year and $255 million by 2014. The Senate bill is the first comprehensive legislation on natural gas drilling to be approved in that chamber since the Marcellus Shale boom began. Meanwhile, the Pennsylvania House is considering a bill that would require only a $40,000 initial fee per well, and fees would be required for 10 years.