On Wednesday, Pennsylvania lawmakers passed a bill to let counties levy fees on natural-gas wells, which the state estimates may generate about $211 million in revenue in 2012.
Proceeds, based on gas prices, would go mostly to communities affected by drilling in the Marcellus shale under a bill approved 101-90. That was the last legislative hurdle. Gov. Tom Corbett has said he will sign the bill.
According to the Associated Press, Pennsylvania is the only major natural gas-producing state that doesn't seek extraction fees from drilling companies.
The measure was a compromise that meets the needs of local communities without overburdening drillers, state leaders said.
Municipalities cannot pass more stringent ordinances against drilling, and companies that run into problems can sue or ask a state agency to review local rules.
The bill would allow counties to decide whether to demand the fee. If they don't, they could be overruled if half of their municipalities by population agree to seek the levies.
Based on current prices, the bill would assess each well about $45,000 a year. The fee would rise and fall with natural gas prices. The fees would run for 15 years.
Ohio is looking at a similar fee. Gov. John Kasich has proposed a state-set fee to help local governments with damage to roads and instrastructure caused by drilling and to avoid having local communuities enact their own levies.
Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.
Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.
Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.
The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.
Earthjustice, a national eco-group.
People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.
Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.
No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.
Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.
Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.
Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.