Pennsylvania launches natural gas drilling fee

Pennsylvania on Monday announced plans for new levies and stricter rules for natural gas drilling, which has been blamed for contaminating local water supplies.

Governor Tom Corbett proposes to slap a potential $160,000 “impact fee” on each well drilled, which would be used to improve infrastructure and promote the use of natural gas vehicles in the state.

“Estimates show that this impact fee will bring in about $120 million in the first year, climbing to nearly $200 million within six years,” Corbett said in a statement.

Each well will be subject to a fee of up to $40,000 in the first year, $30,000 in the second year, $20,000 in the third year and $10,000 in the fourth through tenth years, the statement said.

Pennsylvania is at the center of a U.S. natural gas drilling boom, thanks to a drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which releases gas in shale rock by blasting deposits with chemical-laced water and sand.

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