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Pa. Lawmakers Advance Shale Drilling 'Impact Fees' Legislation

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) - A Pennsylvania state senate committee has advanced a bill that would impose "impact fees" on natural gas drilling in the state.

The impact fee bill has a powerful sponsor: Joe Scarnati, the top ranking Republican in the state senate.

Even though the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee voted for some significant changes to his bill before approving it, Scarnati indicated he was pleased by the approval.

But many committee members who voted "yes" said they simply wanted to advance the bill despite reservations about it.

Some, like state senator Andrew Dinneman (D-Chester County), said they have concerns about the lack of funds to areas where drilling is not taking place but have pipelines that deliver the gas to market.

"And while one can minimize the impact of the gas lines, they're real for us," Dinneman told the committee.

But Scarnati responded, "I encourage all members of the southeast that want to talk about impacts to come see the drilling."

Scarnati also continues to assert his belief that failure to enact impact fee legislation will make it harder to pass a state budget.

Reported by KYW Harrisburg bureau chief Tony Romeo

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