Westmoreland Water Authority Expects $3M in Gas Royalties This Yr

In an incredible story of how Marcellus Shale drilling benefits local communities, the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County (i.e. the water authority) reports that it expects royalties received from 52 shale wells drilled on authority-owned land will jump another $1 million this year, to a total of over $3 million. The authority is still pushing forward with a three-year rate hike plan that began in 2016–so customers will get a 7% rate hike this year. Even though the authority has all of that extra cash. Why not suspend the rate hike because of the extra royalty money? Because, says an authority official, “The rate hikes were designed to help pay for a $140 million loan finalized last year for capital improvements to the water system that serves more than 120,000 customers in five counties as well as nearly 25,000 sewer customers.” What will the authority do with the extra $1 million they hadn’t planned on receiving? It’s “more money to be reinvested into the system.” Here’s the lowdown on Westmoreland’s windfall from gas royalties, and why royalties are jumping this year…

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