Lehigh and Berks counties will share nearly $650,000 in revenues from the state's new natural gas drilling impact fee.

State rep. Gary Day (R-Lehigh/Berks) made the announcement Tuesday.

“The impact fee law was intended to allow governments to deal with the impacts of Marcellus Shale drilling,” Day said. “Even though drilling isn’t taking place within our area, the revenue that is coming back to the Lehigh Valley will help to deal with any indirect impacts. This includes protecting our environment, training our first responders and improving our infrastructure.”

Thanks to Act 13 of 2012, natural gas drilling companies pay the impact fees to help local and state governments deal with the direct and indirect impacts of the natural gas boom.

Locally, Lehigh County will receive $296,513, with Berks County slated to receive $349,067.

Statewide, impact fee revenue is more than $20 million more than original projections, coming in at nearly $205 million by the end of 2012.

The fees are imposed on each actively producing well in the Commonwealth and are based on the retail price of natural gas.

The Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission (PUC) collects the fees and is expected to distribute the funds in the next week.

The proceeds can be used for conservation districts; enforcement of clean air and water statutes; emergency response planning, training and coordination related to natural gas production from unconventional wells; the development, delivery and sustainment of training and grant programs for first responders.