W.Va. Senate Approves Some Marcellus Gas Rules

Charleston Gazette
2 March 2011

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - 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 also voted to increase permit fees from $650 to $5,000. State regulators say they need $10,000 fees to hire needed inspectors.

The House of Delegates is considering its own bill addressing this mile-deep natural gas field.