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Williamsport Law OK, $300,000 Shale Payment to Follow

The city of Williamsport will receive an extra $300,000 from Pennsylvania's booming natural gas drilling industry after state officials said they corrected miscalculations in how revenue from fees was to be distributed among municipal governments.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission released the revised figures last week for its distribution of Marcellus Shale well fees. It disclosed the errors in late October, and the changes will result in many municipalities seeing a change of hundreds or thousands of dollars in its bottom-line figure for wells drilled in 2011 and before.

The fees results from a February law imposing a $50,000 fee for each horizontally drilled well and a $10,000 fee for each vertical well drilled through the end of 2011.

Williamsport's change was by far the biggest and will bring the city $560,000, instead of $260,000.

The utility commission said the miscalculation affected municipalities within five miles of a well. Payments are still be made by the law's deadline of Dec. 1, it said.

The mistakes were discovered after the utility commission published the original figures Oct. 15 and some municipalities asked the commission to double-check their amount.

All told, counties and municipalities will get about $111 million out of the $204 million in drilling-fee revenue. The money can be used to fix roads, bridges and other infrastructure, provide affordable housing, preserve open space and buy equipment for first responders, among other expenses.

The rest of the money goes to various state agencies and programs.


Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.