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Cranberry Township receives payday thanks to Marcellus shale drilling

| Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, 8:57 p.m.

Townships all over Western Pennsylvania are being affected by Marcellus shale drilling. Cranberry, in particular, is getting to reap some of the benefits of the drilling's effects.

About a year ago, township officials were alerted that they would be receiving a hefty sum of money as part of a compensation program that Pennsylvania's Public Utility Commission enacted in February.

A list of counties and the amounts they will receive from the legislation released by the PUC revealed that Butler County will gain almost $900,000. Cranberry will receive $75,405.53 of that money.

The money will be delivered by the end of the first week of November, said township manager, Jerry Andree.

Andree said there has been “very, very little” dialogue about the drilling and that residents do not seem to be affected by it negatively.

Different counties receive different amounts of money based on different statistics, including the number of drilling sites.

That money is then distributed to municipalities based on their proximity to drilling sites and other factors, such as what kind of drilling they are doing.

There are no drilling sites in Cranberry, but active sites are located within the radius that qualifies them for the money, Andree said.

Andree explained that the formula for where the money is distributed gets rather complicated, saying that “even the PUC had to recalculate the rates” for Cranberry before the numbers were finalized. Once they knew how much they were going to receive, Andree said township officials began making plans to use the money for upkeep on their infrastructure.

“We counted on that (money) coming in to support our road maintenance program,” he said.

Township officials anticipate receiving about the same amount next year from the PUC.

Matt DeFusco is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at mdefusco@tribweb.com.

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