WV Senate Sends Marcellus Shale Drilling Rules to the House

Companies drilling in West Virginia's Marcellus shale field would face steeper permit fees and some new rules under legislation advancing this session.

A unanimous Senate sent the House a proposal for these operations Wednesday. It focuses mostly on developers that employ a horizontal drilling method to tap this rich natural gas reserve.

The bill also adds rules overseeing the cracking of the shale with a high-volume mix of water and chemicals. But surface owners and environmental activists had sought stronger provisions.

The Senate bill would increase permit fees from $650 to $5,000. State regulators say they need $10,000 fees to hire needed inspectors.

The House had its own Marcellus proposal. It missed Wednesday's
procedural deadline for bills.

©2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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