Dauphin and Perry counties this week passed impact fee ordinances that would assess fees on wells if natural gas drillers begin operations in Marcellus Shale formations underlying parts of the counties.
The Dauphin County commissioners approved the ordinance at their Wednesday night meeting, county spokeswoman Amy Richards Harinath said.
There are no gas wells in the county now but passing the ordinance was a proactive measure, she said. Marcellus Shale formations underlie more than half of Dauphin County, according to maps from the Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research at Penn State University.
Perry County approved a similar ordinance for the same reasons on Monday, Commissioner Paul Rudy Jr. said. Marcellus formations underlie the eastern portions of the county, according to the center.
Gov. Tom Corbett on Feb. 13 signed the impact fee law, also known as Act 13. The law gives counties the option of assessing fees on each gas well. If all eligible counties pass the ordinances the state expects to collect $180 million from gas exploration companies this year, according to the administration. Fee revenue could reach $211 million in 2013 and $264 million by 2014.
The counties have until April 16 to pass fee ordinances if they want to be eligible this year to receive money from impact fees.