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Landowners say Marcellus permit fees no surprise

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- A property owners' group says West Virginia drilling companies shouldn't have been surprised by the permit fees that legislators have proposed for Marcellus Shale gas wells.

On Tuesday, two industry groups said they were blindsided by the proposal in draft legislation to charge $10,000 for the first well and $5,000 for any subsequent well on the same site.

The fees were outlined last week during a legislative committee meeting.

Julie Archer of the West Virginia Surface Owners' Rights Organization says fees as high as $15,000 were proposed by lawmakers and the Department of Environmental Protection last year.

Industry says the $10,000 fees would hinder their competitiveness.But Archer argues they're less than one-quarter of 1 percent of the cost of drilling a well -- and minuscule when compared to profits.


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