Pa. drilling fee would yield $180M in 1st year

airmoore via flickr

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

A joint House-Senate conference committee approved the bill Monday evening, with majority Republicans outvoting Democrats, 4-2.That sends it to the chambers for up-or-down floor votes as early as Tuesday morning.

Negotiators say the total fee paid on all Marcellus Shale wells would total $180 million in the first year, rising in ensuing years as more wells are drilled.