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Shale gas well in Pennsylvania's Marcellus shale gas fields. (Image: Max Phillips/Jeremy Buckingham MLC via Flickr CC3)

Natural gas income from Pennsylvania forests takes big fall

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A drop in natural gas prices is now also affecting the state of Pennsylvania’s coffers.

The state forests department says that lease payments and royalty income from natural gas drilling on state forests dropped by 46 percent. That’s over the first six months of the current fiscal year, compared to the same period a year earlier.

The department says royalty and rent income was $68.3 million in the July through December period of 2014. Income dropped to $36.7 million over the same six months in 2015.

The money has been used in recent years to both operate and improve the state-owned parks and forests, although its diversion to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is the subject of a court challenge.

In related news, Pennsylvania’s gas utilities adjust for warm weather curveball.

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