The Department of Environmental Protection is ordering a Texas gas company to shut down two Somerset County gas wells for failing to pay nearly $100,000 in impact fees and related costs dating back as far as 2014.
The department has suspended operating permits for Xtreme Energy gas wells in Stonycreek and Brothersvalley townships until $94,684 in state-required fees and penalties are paid – a move the Texas-based company unsuccessfully challenged for the past two years.
“The suspension will remain in place until the fees are paid to the (Public Utility Commission), DEP receives notice to that effect, and DEP notifies Xtreme Energy in writing that the permits are no longer suspended,” department officials wrote in a one-page release to media Wednesday.
State officials have collected more than $1 billion from drillers for impact fees – money that has primarily been redistributed to communities impacted by drilling or transferred to an environmental Marcellus Shale Legacy fund.
Companies have been paying the fees since 2012.
But Xtreme Energy declined to pay the fees, saying it was not the well’s “producer,” a Public Utility Commission order shows.
The company also argued that one of its wells didn’t qualify because it was only producing a minimal “stripper well” amount of gas.
In April, a settlement was reached lowering Xtreme’s initial $160,000 fee amount to $94,684. But state officials said Xtreme never paid its fees.
Messages left with Xtreme Energy weren’t returned for comment Wednesday.
DEP officials said the company is the first in the history of Act 13 to avoid paying the fees.