Share This Page

Some Pa. towns will get more Marcellus cash

| Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012, 7:20 a.m.

A number of Western Pennsylvania municipalities will get substantially more in impact fees from Marcellus shale gas drilling than they were initially told by the state while others will get less, the Public Utility Commission said.

The state updated its payment schedule after determining that it miscalculated how to divvy up the more than $204 million it collected from drillers to help municipalities pay for things such as wear and tear on roads and sewer systems.

“A few entities reached out to the PUC to verify their information and double-check their distribution,” said Jennifer Kocher, a spokeswoman for the agency. “As a result, we conducted a wholesale review of the distribution amounts and made the necessary corrections.”

The state increased the amount it will pay out across the state by $104,887, according to a report released Wednesday. Officials initially thought its calculations could be off by as much as $1 million.

While some communities will get payments that are nearly 500 percent more, the change may not be significant since the actual dollar amount is low.

Pleasant Hills will see one of the highest jumps — 320 percent. It will get $791.44 instead of $188.09.

The largest percentage increase was in Benton, Columbia County, which will get $365.34 instead of $61.44 — an increase of 494 percent.

Penn Hills, which initially was told it would get $965, was increased by nearly 321 percent to $4,061. Deputy Mayor Sara Jayne Kuhn said while any increase in payments is welcome, municipal officials decided to take a “proactive” approach to addressing the possible impact of shale drilling operations.

“We've passed very stringent requirements for drilling that requires drillers to be properly bonded so that the money is available to cover problems that arise,” she said. “We tried to be very thorough, so I believe we've covered every aspect of the issue.”

In actual payments, the city of Williamsport in Lycoming County got the largest increase — $300,145, for a total of $559,743. The largest decrease was in adjacent Loyalsock, which was initially promised $300,500. It will now get $56,500 less, a drop of 18 percent.

Other local municipalities that will receive double the amount initially reported include New Kensington, which went from $15,247 to $30,971, and Lower Burrell, which goes from $14,800 to $30,051, both more than 103 percent higher.

Tony LaRussa is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7987 or tlarussa@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.