Marcellus Environmental and Future Fund Bills Proposed

by Dee Fulton on January 24, 2012

The Intelligencer reported that Delegate Mike Manypenny (D-Taylor) has introduced three bills pertaining to Marcellus Shale drilling during this year’s legislative session.  Manypenny plans to introduce 20 amendments to the Marcellus bill which was passed in Special Session before Christmas in order to beef up the bill’s environmental and public health protections and surface owners rights.

– House Bill 3254 – Would add oil and gas facilities, wells, pipelines and tanks to the coordinated statewide program of air pollution prevention.

– House Bill 4066 – Relates to groundwater contamination and spills associated with the stimulation of wells using the fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, process.

This legislation would require drillers to disclose all groundwater contamination and spills associated with the fracking process to the public within two hours of the spill, and immediately after knowledge of the contamination becomes known.

– House Bill 4067 – Requires a driller or owner of a natural gas well who contaminates a groundwater aquifer to remediate the aquifer until it meets the standards of the Clean Water Act.

In another story, The Intelligencer reported on Tuesday that Senate President Jeff Kessler (D-Marshall) has again introduced Senate Bill 182, a measure creating the West Virginia Futures Fund.  The bill was double referenced to the Senate Economic Development Committee and to the Finance Committee.

The concept of what is being called a Futures Fund was proposed by the West Virginia Center for Budget and Policy in a July 2011 report entitled Boom and Busts, The Impact of West Virginia’s Energy Policy.  From the FrackCheckWV post about that report:  The report concludes that sustainable long-term economic growth can only be achieved with a diversified economy and a well-educated workforce.  It recommends the creation of a Permanent Mineral Trust Fund financed by severance taxes.   The fund would be dedicated to education projects to encourage economic diversification and to infrastructure projects to “help ensure that the wealth generated by the energy boom stays in West Virginia and remains long after the mining resources are gone.”

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