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$48 million in impact fees coming to Pittsburgh area, state PUC reveals

Southwestern Pennsylvania counties and municipalities will share $48 million of the $223.5 million in impact fees that natural gas production companies paid to the state this year, according to new figures the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission published on Wednesday.

The release comes a day after Republicans in the state House and Senate distributed an early version of the data to highlight their opposition to a severance tax plan proposed by Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat.

The Pittsburgh region’s share of the impact fees will go to communities that host Marcellus Shale and other deep gas wells to offset the strain to roads, housing and other services that comes along with the industry’s development. Counties also receive a portion of the fees to spend on conservation, green corridors and other environmental initiatives.

The impact fee, which is based on the number of wells that are drilled and the average price of natural gas, brought in slightly less money than in the previous year, when companies paid $225.7 million. PUC spokesman Nils Hagen-Frederiksen said the decrease can be attributed to more than 400 fewer older wells being eligible for the fee this year based on declining production.

According to the PUC’s data, the drilling-heavy counties of Washington and Greene will receive the most money in the region. Washington County and its municipalities will receive $17.6 million, and Greene County and its municipalities will receive $11.8 million.

Butler County communities will receive $5.7 million, followed by communities in Westmoreland County with $3.7 million, Fayette County with $3.5 million and Allegheny County with $2.2 million.

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