The cost of operating and maintaining the Kanawha County school system should fall this year. Reserve Oil & Gas of Spencer plans to drill a gas well on Capital High School property this summer.
The company will pay a royalty of 12.5 percent on the sale of gas the well produces. The school system will also get 200,000 cubic feet of natural gas free each year, and a 10 percent discount on purchases above that amount.
The well is expected to produce for as much as 50 years.
Last fall, county facilities director Chuck Wilson told the Daily Mail's Dave Boucher that the royalties will be worth about $10,000 a year to the school system.
"Any relief to the taxpayers is always welcome," said school board president Pete Thaw.
The company will use vertical drilling and use nitrogen to fracture Devonian shale 1,800 feet below the surface. The state's Division of Environmental Protection approved a permit for the well on June 26, and the Charleston Board of Zoning Appeals unanimously approved a permit for the project last week.
Company officials said last fall that they intended to drill three wells, but said this week that they will focus first on this one.
The company operates 157 gas wells in the state, and has drilled about 85 wells in Kanawha County in recent years, including several within the city limits of Charleston.
This is far from the first such drilling on public property. Such arrangements stretch back over the decades.
As long as the wells are safe and do not interfere with education, West Virginians should have no problem with such drilling.
As Thaw said, taxpayers need the relief.