Pa. gas-drilling bill would yield estimated $190M


HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — State lawmakers expect an initial, procedural vote on a bill to require Pennsylvania's booming natural gas industry to pay fees for state and local government programs.

House and Senate leaders expected a conference committee vote Monday evening before the bill heads to the chambers for up-or-down floor votes as early as Tuesday.

Negotiators say the total fee paid on all Marcellus Shale wells would total $190 million in the first year, rising in ensuing years as more wells are drilled.

The proposal is a result of weeks of talks between leaders of the Republican-controlled state Legislature and Gov. Tom Corbett, a fellow Republican.

Democrats say the bill falls short on forcing the industry to pay its fair share, protecting clean air and water and allowing municipalities to control drilling activity.