Western Pa. counties, municipalities to see bump in money from fees on natural gas production

Allegheny and Westmoreland counties, along with municipalities in the counties, will receive about $3.1 million from impact fees the state collected last year on Marcellus Shale gas well production, a considerable increase over the year before, according to data released Friday.

Allegheny County and its municipalities will receive nearly $1.9 million from last year’s impact fees, up from $1.1 million from the year before, while Westmoreland County and its municipalities will get nearly $1.3 million from last year’s fees, up from about $772,000 from 2020, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission said.

The state says the checks will go out early next month.

The additional revenue was driven primarily by the higher average price of natural gas last year. The average price last year was $3.84 per million British Thermal Units, up from $2.08 per million Btu in 2020, the PUC said. The additional 518 wells drilled in the state last year also helped drive the higher revenues, the PUC said.

“The nearly 60% increase in this year’s distribution is directly related to heightened activity levels and the commodity price environment, underscoring the importance of policies that encourage domestic natural gas development, transportation and use,” said David Callahan, president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, an industry trade group supporting natural gas development.

Statewide, Pennsylvania collected $234.4 million from the unconventional gas well impact fee from production in 2021, about $100 million more than was generated from 2020 production, the PUC said. The PUC is responsible for collecting and distributing money from the fees. Of the money generated last year, about $123.2 will go to municipalities.

The Marcellus Legacy Fund will receive $86 million. The fund provides money for environmental, highway, water and sewer projects, rehabilitation of greenways and other projects in the state. State agencies will get $25.1 million, while county conservation districts and the state conservation commission will divide $8.8 million, the PUC said.

The PUC said it has distributed more than $2.2 billion in impact fees to communities since the impact fee was enacted.

Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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