State Senate passes bill for impact fee on Marcellus Shale Drilling in Pennsylvania, 31 to 19, after hours of debate. Pushed by Pennsylvania’s Republican Governor, Tom Corbett, it’s to impose the first-ever drilling fee on Pennsylvania’s natural gas drilling industry.  The House to vote later Tuesday and is expected to pass.

Pennsylvania is rich with Marcellus Shale, and is one of the largest regions in the United States to provide natural gas from Marcellus Shale. The bill could help bring in over $1 billion in revenue over the next 5 years, according to Republican State Senator, Joe Scarnati. The money from the tax would spread across drilling communities to ensure safety and to build better state infrastructures. The bill would also enforce strict rules on Marcellus Shale drilling companies.

What does impact fee mean?

Impact fee is an annual cost that would pay to prevent or fix any environmental damage from the production of natural gas.  On a local level, the impact cost would go towards water safety for local drilling community residences and cleaning the local environment.  State costs would go toward statewide projects to beautify Pennsylvania and other statewide environmental projects.  60% of the fee would be used on the local level, 40% of the fee would be used on state level.

According to StateImpact’s analy­sis each county would receive an average of $682,000 from a $40,000-per-well fee. The StateImpact’s website features an interactive map that lets you look at a county-by-county breakdown of how the money would be allocated (click to view map).