Gas impact fee revenue rises to 7-year high, boosted by stripper wells

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Jon Hurdle | State Impact NPR

Pennsylvania’s impact fee on natural gas producers raised more money in 2018 to offset the effects of shale development than at any time in the fee’s seven-year history, the Public Utility Commission said on Thursday.

The fee raised almost $252 million for the year, up from $210 million in 2017 and $226 million, the next-highest figure, in 2013.

The PUC said the higher revenue was mostly driven by an increase in the number of wells paying the fee: 9,560 in 2018 compared with 8,518 in 2017.

The total was boosted by the inclusion for the first time of so-called stripper wells, low-producing wells that were excluded from the impact fee calculation because of a legal dispute. They are now subject to the fee following a ruling in December 2018 by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which agreed with the PUC that the wells must pay the fees. Revenue from stripper wells accounted for $8.9 million of the 2018 total.

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