Tomblin’s Marcellus Task Force Not Yet Up And Running

by Duane Nichols on April 26, 2011

Back in mid-February, acting governor Tomblin signed an executive order creating a Marcellus to Manufacturing Task Force, consisting primarily of gas and chemical industry executives, from Bayer Corporation, Triana Energy, Caiman Energy, Northeast Natural Energy, Chesapeake Energy, EQT and others. Its main goal was to attract and encourage employers that convert ethane, a compound removed from natural gas during the refining process, into the widely used chemical compound named ethylene. (Ethane is a major component of “wet” gas from Marcellus shale fracking operations).

A meeting of this task force had been called for today.  However, Ken Ward of the Charleston Gazette reported:  “Just heard from Kurt Dettinger, general counsel for the governor’s office, and he informed me that they’ve called off tomorrow’s task force meeting, citing the inadequate public notice.”  So, after two months of its existence, the task force is yet to meet.  

The Marcellus Gas and Manufacturing Development Act was passed by the WV Legislature and approved by Tomblin to provide numerous tax breaks  for the very same industrial plants to be promoted by the Task Force.  Yet, a framework for protecting the infrastructure of the State, its land, water, air, and roads, is not being studied and has no “task force”.   Nor does the WV Office of Oil and Gas have adequate inspectors to enforce the existing laws, according to most observers.  No ”special session” of the WV Legislature has been scheduled in spite of the many calls for such.

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