HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania is charging higher well-permitting fees to natural gas exploration firms.

A regulation published Friday is the second time state officials have sought to align permitting fees with a Marcellus Shale drilling boom that has made Pennsylvania the nation's second-biggest natural gas-producing state.

The Department of Environmental Protection says it expects revenue to increase by $4.7 million a year, or about 40 percent.

It replaces a five-year-old fee structure that charged more based on well bore length. The new fee is $5,000 for a horizontal well and $4,200 for a vertical well. That's an increase of about $1,800 and $1,300, respectively.

Fees for Pennsylvania's traditional shallow well industry remain the same.

The department says the new money will help pay for more staff and new information technology systems.



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