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.
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