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House Energy Committee looks at funding for plugging abandoned oil and gas wells

By STEVEN ALLEN ADAMS

The Parkersburg News and Sentinel

CHARLESTON, W. Va.  — A new bill could help plug abandoned oil and natural gas wells that dot West Virginia’s countryside, but it could hurt the budgets of small counties.

The House Energy Committee passed House Bill 2673 Tuesday, creating the Oil and Gas Abandoned Well Plugging Fund. The bill’s next stop is the House Finance Committee.

HB 2673 would direct the state Department of Environmental Protection to use money collected by the fund to plug old and abandoned oil and natural gas wells and reclaim the property. Companies that produce a low volume of natural gas or oil would be exempt from severance taxes but would pay an annual 2.5 percent of the value of the gas or oil produced from their wells to generate money for the fund.

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