From our friends at the West Virginia Surface Owners' Rights Association:
Interim Committee Advances Marcellus Shale Legislation
Earlier this week, Subcommittee A of the Joint Judiciary Committee advanced a bill establishing a new regulatory program for gas wells utilizing horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Although the committee advanced the bill without a recommendation for passage by the full legislature, this keeps the bill alive. (You can read more here, here and here.) It also means the legislature will have two comprehensive bills to consider. The DEP has finalized its legislation and acting Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has signed off on the package (although it will not be a governor's bill and Tomblin did not mention it in the State of the State address).
Both bills are aimed at regulating the Marcellus Shale gas well drilling occurring now in West Virginia, but would apply to all drilling using these new techniques. In addition, both bills would provide DEP with much needed funds to hire additional inspectors through an increase permit fees. Although, each bill omits some things we want, (and the interim bill does some things better than the DEP bill and vice versa) both bills are a good start at protecting our land and water resources from destructive drilling practices.
Thanks to taking the time to to contact members of the interim committee with your concerns.
The West Virginia Environmental Council has prepared a detailed comparison of the two proposals and we'll provide you with more particulars in future updates. In the meantime, please consider joining us in Charleston for Citizen Lobby Days.
Citizen Lobby Days Planned
Please Join Us
Who? WV-SORO and others working to protect our land and water resources from destructive drilling practices
What? Citizen Lobby Days
When? Each Wednesday (or any day*) during the 2011 Legislative Session (Starting January 19, 2011)
Where? State Capitol in Charleston
Why? To urge lawmakers to strengthen West Virginia's oil and gas drilling laws
*A group of organizations working on these issues has picked Wednesdays as Citizen Lobby Days, however, with a little advance notice a member of the WV-SORO team will be happy to meet you anytime you are available to come to Charleston.
Whenever you can come, please contact Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org or (304) 610-9094 in advance to arrange a time and location to meet.
We also recommend calling ahead to schedule an appointment with your legislators. We hope you can join us!