Acting Senate President Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, has appointed five WV Senators to the Select Committee on Marcellus natural gas development, namely senators Douglas Facemire, D-Braxton, Sen. Orphy Klempa, D-Ohio, Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha, Herb Snyder, D-Jefferson, and Karen Facemyer, R-Jackson.
Kessler’s own constituents are in Marshall, Wetzel, Tyler, Marion and Monongalia counties which are experiencing a flurry of drilling activity. Senator Klempa of adjoining Ohio county wants to make sure the Mountain State maintains its natural beauty throughout the drilling activity. “There are a lot of good players out there, but it only takes one or two bad players to make us all look bad. We have to make sure we are going to protect our air, our water and our roads.”
In speaking about the Marcellus drilling legislation, acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin recently said during a visit to Wheeling, “I will call a special session of the Legislature as soon as we can get an agreement reached.”
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection needs more gas inspector positions than the current 17. Natural gas companies drilled 58 horizontal wells in the state last year, but regulators issued permits for 433 wells in 2010. With land leasing and permitting still taking place, there is going to be even more drilling, which will call for more inspectors.