2009-03-26 / Local & State

Marcellus Shale Gas Drilling Fees Headed Up In Pa.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - An average 26-fold increase in Pennsylvania's permitting fee to drill for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale rock formation is likely to take effect next month.

A state regulatory panel Thursday approved the proposal by the Rendell administration to increase the fees, and key lawmakers are supporting it.

The administration's goal is to hire about three dozen more inspection and permitting staff to catch up with surging interest in tapping the huge gas field.

The fee is currently $100 and has not gone up since 1984.

Before the fee takes effect, the attorney general's office must review its legality.

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