Raleigh County economic development officials will receive nearly $544,000 from a severance tax designed to compensate counties for methane gas extraction.
The coal bed methane severance tax, spanning fiscal years 2009 to 2011, shows Raleigh the leader in reimbursements at $543,532. Next is Marshall County at $246,542 and Wetzel County at $42,465. Twenty-six other counties received exactly $15,188.
Counties outside this $1.2 million distribution have already received their share of tax revenue for those years. Raleigh and other counties are now receiving their share because of a state code overhaul that dealt with economic development entities. SB 487 clarified that matter this past legislative session, creating a means by which the money could be distributed to the remaining counties.
Raleigh, Marshall, and Wetzel counties received far more than the other counties because the latter group either did not produce any methane gas or so little that it was better off classifying itself as a non-methane county, as state law allows.
Methane is the principal component of natural gas and is used as the raw material in the manufacture of some chemicals.
As a residential fuel it is used in furnaces, water heaters, and cooking stoves.
"We are happy to pass this revenue on to counties which have been waiting," State Treasurer John Perdue said. "Now these counties can count on receiving revenue each year.
The methane-producing counties included in this disbursement should receive at least a temporary budget boost."