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Shale impact fee near final deal

HARRISBURG — The state House and Senate are near final agreement on Marcellus shale legislation that would establish a county option fee on drillers.

Voting is expected to begin this week.

"We are working diligently to finalize an agreement on Marcellus Shale that balances growth in the Marcellus sector because we want good jobs and capital brought to the region while also providing environmental protections," said House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, R-Bradford Woods. "We want to take it to the members."

House Minority Leader Frank Dermody, D-Oakmont, called it a "near-deal."

"This (shale bill) has been close so many times," he said

"It is a framework. There is no deal till (Monday,)" said Senate GOP counsel Andrew Crompton.

Kevin Harley, spokesman for Gov. Tom Corbett, said the governor is hopeful a final deal is at hand.

"We worked together with Senate and the House in developing language. We're supportive of it, but it is still developing."

Getting shale legislation was Corbett's top priority for the fall session, but an agreement proved elusive. The governor insisted on a county option fee. The House and Senate passed separate bills with key differences last year.

Local zoning was one of the key issues. Apparently the proposal includes language that allows local zoning but penalizes municipalities that goo too far in restricting development. Details were not available.

"That's our understanding," Dermody said, "I'm not sure that it is clear yet."

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