WV Legislature Could Improve our Economics & Environment?

by Duane Nichols on January 11, 2014

Marcellus reforms not on W.Va. Democrats’ agenda

From the Article by Ken Ward Jr., Charleston Gazette, January 8, 2014

When West Virginia lawmakers more than two years ago approved Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s Horizontal Drilling Act, they included requirements for a wide variety of studies. Follow-up reports were to look at water pollution, impoundment safety, air pollution, noise and economic impact.

Well, those studies are in, and they’ve shown clearly that more is needed if West Virginians are to be protected as the Marcellus Shale boom continues in our State (see the original article for specific references).

Most troubling has been the fact that Commerce Department officials continue to flaunt a legal requirement that they report publicly on the number of Marcellus workers who are actually from West Virginia, as opposed to out-of-state employees of drilling companies. If that weren’t enough, an interim meeting earlier this week highlighted the fact that some of the key research on potential water quality impacts of Marcellus waste disposal didn’t even study wastes from the Marcellus.

But if you’re looking for something to do while we wait for Gov. Tomblin’s State of the State address this evening, read through the House Democratic leadership’s agenda — and try to find where any of these pressing issues about the Marcellus boom are addressed.


North Central WV Democracy for America:

WV House Speaker Tim Miley Speaks

At a breakfast sponsored by The Harrison Co. Chamber of Commerce, speaking about the WV $250-$300 million revenue shortfall, and the possibility of increased taxes on the gas industry, WV House Speaker, Tim Miley is quoted in the 01/04/14 Clarksburg Exponent-Telegram: “I do not anticipate, nor would I support, an increase in the natural gas severance tax. My concern is this: I don’t want to do anything as a legislative body to impede natural gas expansion in West Virginia.”

As a possible effort to keep the gas industry and COC campaign endorsements and donations flowing, the legislators attending “across the board, the lawmakers said they would not support such a measure.”


Proposed bill aims to manage water resources
Delegate: Draft adds drilled wells

From the Article by David Beard, Morgantown Dominion Post, January 8, 2014

CHARLESTON — An interim committee originated a bill Tuesday intended to promote management of the state’s water resources and ultimately aid economic development. The draft bill, to be introduced after the session begins, comes from the Joint Legislative Oversight Commission on State Water Resources. It amends the Water Resources Protection Act.

Committee co-chairman and chief author Sen. John Unger, D-Berkeley, told The Dominion Post it marks the third and final step in a process: The state claimed surface and groundwaters, inventoried them, and now adopts a plan to manage them. Many neighboring states are drying out, Unger said, while “West Virginia is blessed with abundant water resources.” This plan would not only serve the environment, but can ultimately leverage business opportunities by drawing water-dependent industries here, to our well-managed and plentiful supply.

While the water use of the natural gas industry immediately comes to mind, Unger said the bill and the plan can apply to any industry that uses a lot of water. Co-chairman Mike Manypenny, D-Taylor, agreed with Unger’s thoughts and said he’s encouraged by these proposals to improve water monitoring. He’s been concerned for a long time about the possibility of extracting large amounts of groundwater depleting the supply. “By improving the monitoring of these wells, it can give us a better idea of the impact that may be occurring, or not occurring,” he said.

>>>  The bill’s provisions: It changes the definition of a “large quantity user” from one that withdraws more than 750,000 gallons per calendar month to one that withdraws more than 300,000 gallons in any 30-day period. It adds wells drilled in support of horizontal well operations to the list of commercial wells. Delegate Bill Hamilton, R-Upshur, proposed this amendment, and won unanimous approval.

>>>  It requires annual registry with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for every large quantity user. Drilling contractors must report depth to groundwater on their drilling reports to the DEP. It adopts the state Water Resources Management Plan — a bound document about 3 inches thick that’s been in the works for several years. It tightens the reporting requirements for large quantity users’ water withdrawals.

Committee attorney Jay Lazell told members that code requires that any monthly withdrawal that results from altering a location or intake site and varies plus or minus 10 percent of an established baseline average to be reported. The bill requires an exact amount, with an annual report of monthly withdrawals. The DEP must report annually to the commission on its implementation of the Management Plan.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

OUTRAGE Article January 12, 2014 at 5:58 pm


Governor dodges major energy issues in “State of the State” speech  – The Charleston Gazette, January 8, 2014

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Energy and environmental issues took a back seat Wednesday night, as Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin generally dodged discussion of concerns over climate change, mountaintop removal and the Marcellus Shale gas-drilling boom.

Tomblin took a somewhat toned-down approach to criticizing the Obama administration’s coal policies, and insisted the industry has a strong future, but proposed no programs to improve health and safety protections for miners.

In his State of the State address, Tomblin touted his 2011 gas-drilling bill, but did not mention growing evidence from state-sponsored studies that the measure is far too weak.

“It’s the same old thing,” said Cindy Rank of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy. “There’s nothing positive in terms of protecting things that we see as important for the future of the state.


STATE JOURNAL Article January 12, 2014 at 6:09 pm


W.Va. Senate president proposes “Future Fund”, The State Journal, January 4, 2014

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – Senate President Jeff Kessler says he thinks he has the support of Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and House Speaker Tim Miley to create a future fund for education and other needs, despite budget woes.

Kessler says the plan would set aside a portion of the severance tax on the state’s natural gas industry for the fund. But it wouldn’t impose any higher tax rates or affect current government programs. Kessler will push the plan in the upcoming legislative session.

The plan could infuse more money for future teacher pay raises, infrastructure and other needs. .

Representatives from the coal, natural gas and oil industries only cautioned that lawmakers not raise taxes on their industries. The officials gathered December 30th for the West Virginia AP Legislative Lookahead at Marshall University’s South Charleston campus.


Pam Newman March 3, 2014 at 9:42 am

When i was growing up out in the country, our family got water from our private water well. The dentist wanted to give flouride to my brothers for the same reason.

My mom didn’t know any better and agreed. They both got very sick from it.

After that, she refused ANY flouride treatments. Live and learn. Don’t do it.

I wonder what chemicals were in the water already, and what would be in there today with drilling and fracking nearby?


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