Permit Fees Restored To W.V. Marcellus Measure

CHARLESTON, W.V. (AP) - West Virginia lawmakers are sticking with the permit fees that drew industry objections as they craft proposed rules for the Marcellus shale natural gas field.

A special House-Senate committee voted to keep the increases Thursday, after earlier agreeing to reconsider them.

The draft legislation would charge drillers $10,000 for the initial well at a given site and $5,000 for each additional well at that site.

But some committee members noted that these fees would be higher than what other Marcellus states charge.

Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Randy Huffman also questioned the fee levels. Huffman said lawmakers should instead focus on finding $2.1 million in up-front funding. His agency needs that amount to hire more inspectors and support staff.

The committee plans to return to the draft bill next month.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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