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Lehigh and Northampton counties to receive more than $540,000 from Marcellus Shale impact fee

By Randy Kraft, WFMZ.com Reporter, RKraft@wfmz.com
Published On: Jun 17 2013 02:53:22 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 17 2013 06:58:56 PM CDT

Lehigh and Northampton Counties will soon receive more than a half-million dollars.

HARRISBURG, Pa. -

Lehigh and Northampton counties are getting more than $545,000 in Marcellus shale impact fees.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission announced that Lehigh County will receive $295,556.52, and Northampton County will get $249,942.70.

Under Act 13 of 2012, impact fees are imposed on drilling companies extracting natural gas in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale regions. The fees fluctuate depending on the price of natural gas and the rate of inflation. The revenue is collected by the PUC.

“As promised under Act 13, counties and municipalities across Pennsylvania are now reaping the financial benefits associated with Marcellus shale,” said State Rep. Justin Simmons (R-Lehigh/Northampton) on Monday. “Our local counties can use the funding for projects that are needed as a result of the drilling industry, such as road repairs and infrastructure improvements.”

PUC collected impact fees totaling more than $202.4 million this year, bringing the two-year total to more than $406.6 million.

Checks will be distributed to counties and municipalities beginning June 28.

Counties and municipalities have the option to use funds to address a variety of drilling impacts, including preservation and reclamation of water supplies; improvements to local roads and bridges; construction and repair of water and sewer systems; delivery of social services including domestic relations and drug and alcohol treatment; local tax reduction; local affordable housing needs; and assistance for county conservation districts.

In addition, impact fee revenue directed to state government will help to enforce clean air and water statutes; to plan for emergencies; to develop, deliver and sustain training and grant programs for first responders; and to help transition traditional fuel-powered vehicles to clean natural gas.