Legislative Update: Fracking Bills Pared Down

by Dee Fulton on February 25, 2011

The West Virginia Legislature website has not been fully updated to reflect the amendments to hydraulic fracturing bills over the last 24 hours.  However, it is reported by sources who work at the Capital that the bills have been dramatically abbreviated.  This translates into less protective law.

In review, two versions of bills were introduced to the Legislature, one originating from the Joint Interim Judiciary Subcommittee A, the other from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.  There is an informal agreement between the House and the Senate that the House will process the bills and send whatever is approved to the Senate. The WVDEP bill was 140 pages at the outset of its somewhat chaotic journey through the House under the label HB3042.  On Wednesday the House Judiciary Committee combined HB3042 with HB2878, the Judiciary SubA bill.  But today sources say that that the 210-page combo-bill was aggressively pared down into a 33-page bill and has been referred to the House Finance Committee with the recommendation that hearing of the bill be waived.

There may be more information about what was cut from the bills in the weekly Legislative Update written by West Virginia Environmental Council lobbyist Don Garvin.  Don’s posts appears on the WVEC website at the end of each week.

Meanwhile, in the Senate, SB424, the twin to the introduced version of HB3042, has been reduced to a 66-page document.  It passed out of the Energy, Industry and Mining Committee and is now in Judiciary.

March 2nd is the crossover date.  This is the date by which a bill must be finished in one chamber and crossover to the other.  Stay tuned!

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