This map from the USGS shows the extent of the Marcellus Shale formation that oil and natural gas companies are exploring for drilling.
Natural gas companies would face new rules for some of their Marcellus shale field operations under measures nearing votes in the West Virginia Legislature.
The Senate Judiciary Committee amended and advanced a proposal Monday that focuses on the horizontal drilling method for tapping this rich natural gas reserve.
The House of Delegates saw its version of a Marcellus regulations bill clear committee last week. Both versions are scheduled for votes by Wednesday's deadline for each chamber to exchange its bills with the other.
But state regulators question whether the proposals will provide enough revenues to hire more inspectors needed for Marcellus gas wells. Surface owners had also sought greater protections in their dealings with industry developers.
©2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.