Rebounding prices for natural gas and a growth in new wells exploring Pennsylvania's vast Marcellus Shale reservoir are fueling a recovery in fee revenue for state programs and county and municipal governments.
The Independent Fiscal Office projected Wednesday that impact fee collections for 2017 will be just above $219 million, $46 million more than 2016's low point of $173 million.
The rebound breaks a string of three years of declining revenue. The Independent Fiscal Office says the increase is largely due to the average annual price of natural gas on the New York Mercantile Exchange passing $3, which triggered a $5,000 per-well increase.
The office also says 812 new wells were started, making 8,634 wells subject to the fee. Pennsylvania is the nation's No. 2 natural gas state behind Texas.