'Fracking' Fees Buoy Some States

As discussion intensifies about drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale region spanning four eastern states, a major talking point is suitable compensation for the counties and municipalities where drilling takes place.

In Pennsylvania, two-thirds of which covers the ancient geological formation that has attracted scores of drilling companies taking advantage of new technology, debate has heated up over whether to impose a tax or severance fee for extracting, or “severing” natural gas from the earth.

Pennsylvania is the only major drilling state with no such tax.

On Friday, a 30-member shale panel commissioned by Gov. Tom Corbett in March and chaired by Lieut. Gov. Jim Cawley, recommended imposing an impact fee, as opposed to a tax, on drilling companies to offset local infrastructure and environmental costs.

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