Once Governor Corbett signs the natural gas drilling impact fee into law, county commissioners will have 60 days to decide whether or not they want to enact a levy within their borders. The Associated Press checked in with Pennsylvania’s top drilling counties to see whether they plan on enacting the $50,000-per-well fee.
“We are going to vote to impose it, probably at our next meeting,” said Larry Maggi, the Democratic chairman of the Washington County commissioners. “I’ve already told my colleagues to put it on the agenda and both agreed.”
The same course is expected in neighboring Greene County, where commissioners’ chairwoman Pam Snyder, a Democrat, said she would put it on the first meeting agenda after Corbett signs the bill, which he negotiated with his fellow Republicans who lead the state Legislature.
“We are very grateful that something has finally happened in Harrisburg to bring money back to municipalities and counties,” Snyder said.
In Lycoming County, the commissioners’ chairman, Jeff Wheeland, was on Corbett’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, which voted in July to recommend the industry pay a fee.
However, Doug McLinko, the Republican commissioners’ chairman in Bradford County, home to the most Marcellus Shale wells of any county, said he didn’t like slapping the industry with a tax while natural gas prices are hovering around 10-year lows.
If Bradford County doesn’t impose a fee, it could be walking away from as much as $10 million. That’s according to StateImpact Pennsylvania’s analysis of DEP’s “spud report,” which lists the drilled wells a fee would assess. According to our map, Washington County’s 2012 share would be around $5 million; Greene would receive about $3 million, and Lycoming would net $4 million.