Marcellus Well Legislation Expected in November According to WV Committee

by Duane Nichols on September 15, 2011

Amendments to SB-424 regulating Marcellus shale drilling should be ready for a special session of the Legislature in November, according to the Joint Select Committee on Marcellus Shale.  After the Committee approved 10 amendments to a bill that died this past regular session, Delegate Tim Manchin, D-Marion and co-chairman of the committee, says he hopes the final three or four amendments can be discussed and approved during the October interims, allowing acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to call a special session for November.  Manchin said he’s open to having three committee meetings next month if that’s what it takes to get a bill ready.

On September 14th, the committee approved amendments that, among other things, raised the permit fees per well to $10,000. Each horizontal lateral off the vertical well into the shale will require a separate permit fee of $5,000. Kristin Boggs, attorney for the state Department of Environmental Protection, said the higher fees could generate about $2.5 million next year. That would erase a $1 million operating deficit in the DEP’s gas well permitting section and allow the department to hire about nine new employees for the section, Boggs said.

The committee also increased bonding requirements for construction of new wells and approved a measure requiring drillers to pay surface owners a one-time fee of $2,500 to reimburse them for property taxes they pay on land they cannot use while drilling is under way.

Manchin said the remaining amendments deal with water wells and streams, surface owner input on the location of roads and wells and the proximity of a well to a dwelling or a building involved in commercial farm activity. That last one could be the most contentious, he said. Sen. Doug Facemire, D-Braxton who is co-chairman, said the committee needs three or four more meetings before it finishes work on a bill.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Elora and Monte McKenzie September 16, 2011 at 1:22 pm

How can the State of West Virginia be allowed to profit to the tune of $10,000 for an intital well and an additional $5,000 per well, for wells drilled on INDIVIDUALS’ PRIVATE PROPERTIES? wE believe these monies should be set aside to pay for the inspection process and problems associated with drilling, such as the degradation of our roads and water supply and any damage whether from spills or accidents, and our infrastructures , and then we should be able to fine them, immediately for repair costs wherever needed. The coal industry has gotten off scott-free on these types of concerns.

Please reply…

Incidentally, we want NO FRACKING!!!!!!!!!!!! You cannot frack in karst.

Thank you,
Elora and Monte McKenzie


Nicole Good September 20, 2011 at 10:01 pm

Gas well inspector salaries are funded by gas well permitting fees. The increased in permit fees will go to the DEP for hiring new, and much needed, inspectors.


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